Thursday, July 28, 2011

Getting To Know You: Zack Wheeler

With the trade of Carlos Beltran finalized, the Mets now officially welcome high end prospect, Zach Wheeler, into the farm system. Wheeler, ranked as the 55th best prospect in all of Minor League Baseball and best pitching prospect in the Giants farm system in 2011 by Baseball America, immediately bolsters the minimal depth held by the Mets and now provides them with as many as four future rotation members.

Drafted sixth overall by the San Francisco Giants in the 1st round of the 2009 Amatuer Draft, Wheeler features a mid 90s fastball and above average curveball. It is also believed that he is developing a changeup to round out his repertoire, however the pitch is still a work in progress.

Pitching out of Class A, San Jose, for the Giants thus far this year, Wheeler has had significant success, but will need to refine his control prior to being Major League ready. Averaging more than ten strikeouts per nine innings, Wheeler is also walking batters at a pace of nearly five per game. To be fair, this inconsistency has been described as normal for a player developing his pitches.

Should he progress without set back, it is possible that Wheeler could crack the rotation as early as Spring Training 2013, when it is also expect Matt Harvey could break through. That stands to be a big spring for the Mets as Jeurys Familia continues to thrive this season.

While there is no doubt that the Mets are left with a large whole to fill in right field for the time being, Sandy Alderson has done well with this trade. The Mets now find themselves with several future front end starters and I can think of no better place to have depth. Wheeler is expected to report to the Port St. Lucie Mets this weekend.