Sunday afternoon had Citi Field buzzing with the home debut of stud-in-the-making New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler. Things went, ummm, awry for the rookie. The Washington Nationals went in order to open the game, but they tagged Wheeler for four in the second and the 13-2 route was on.
The bad news is Wheeler has now allowed 14 hits, nine earned runs, and three long balls (two today in home debut) with 10 walks in 15 innings, but the good news is he will have another 2,500 innings to do his thing. The 23 year old has a massive future at the MLB level, and long suffering Mets fans will have a top of the rotation punch of Wheeler and Matt Harvey for years to come.
Sunday’s match-up went to the Nats, but these NL East foes will see a ton of each other going forward so Wheeler will get numerous opportunities to exact revenge for today’s beatdown. The 23 year old has a fantastic fastball and a very good curve ball already, and he is working to develop a third pitch like his change-up or his slider. Currently it seems like Wheeler tips his hand when a change-up is coming, and his slider is more like a cut-fastball. It seems to me that Wheeler wants to develop his change while manager Terry Collins is looking for the slider to get better asap. Either way, getting a third pitch to be effective for him will set his career off on the path to his reach potential. It is not crazy to suggest he could even develop both his curve and his change to give him a four pitch attack that would be the envy on a lot of staff aces.
The good news from Sunday afternoon is that Wheeler had an at-bat without striking out for the first time on the MLB level. Oh, and also good news that today was simply a bump on the road in what promises to be a fantastic career for Zachary Harrison Wheeler. This guy is going to be fun to watch.