The New York Mets could be a very interesting team to watch during the 2014 season. Unfortunately for the Mets, their ace pitcher from a season ago, Matt Harvey, will likely be lost for the entire year. However, during Spring Training, second-year man Zack Wheeler is attempting to shoulder the load with his right arm. Wheeler is posting results that deserve strong consideration for the Opening Day start in a few weeks against the Washington Nationals.
In his third outing of the spring, against another NL East foe in the Miami Marlins, Wheeler was solid once again for the Mets. Thus far in camp, Wheeler has amassed 10.2 innings and eight strikeouts while only allowing eight hits and one run. After making 17 starts a season ago, Wheeler looks poised and ready for a heavier workload and more success in 2014.
As a stopgap until Harvey is fully recovered, the Mets did add veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon during the winter. While Colon is coming off of a nice season in his own right and would be a safe presence out on the mound Opening Day, the Mets should let loose the youngster Wheeler. If Wheeler is able to post good results all season long, it would suddenly give New York a promising duo of Harvey and Wheeler to compete with down the road. Add in top prospect Noah Syndergaard to the mix and suddenly the Mets look formidable in the future.
The Mets may still be a year away from serious postseason contention, but in the meantime, it should provide them an opportunity to see what Wheeler can deliver on the mound. Instilling Wheeler with a ton of confidence will only make the team and rotation that much stronger for the future. He has the potential to develop into a front-line starter just like Harvey did a year ago. Wheeler also has a similar make-up of one Stephen Strasburg, someone who he could very well be seeing across the field on Opening Day.
Nick Schaeflein is a sports writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ptchr2424 or add him to your network on Google.