Wheeler enjoyed a solid 2012 season. Starting the season with the Double-A Bingham Mets and ending with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons (Now the Las Vegas 51's), HE compiled a record of 12-8 with a 3.26 ERA.
Wheeler's slow start has seen him start four games, going 0-1 which is not the ideal start to the inaugural season in Las Vegas that Wheeler or the 51's may have hoped for. With the work he put in the offseason, in-game progress should be seen soon.
"It [the offseason] went well. [I] did the stuff I always do, just working out, doing stuff around the bullpen; it went well," Wheeler said.
Building off his offseason work, Wheeler took to Spring Training to fine-tune his game, but an injury slowed his progress.
"First big league camp, but unfortunately I strained my oblique so I wasn't able to pitch as much as I wanted to in big league camp, but it was fun."
The time Wheeler got in during Spring Training he focused on pitch control, something he feels is the major area of his game keeping him from making the jump to the big leagues.
"I am just trying to keep the ball down and throw strikes," he said. "You try and prove you can throw strikes and throw all your pitches where you want them."
Not making the New York Mets roster didn't bother Wheeler much as he figured his injury would prevent him from making the jump.
"That was my mindset going into Spring Training; you know making the big league team. That's what you have to think when going into to Spring Training," Wheeler said. "Sometimes things don't go right, but you just try to play your game there and work your way back up."
The slow start to his 2013 season has nothing to do with the strained oblique Wheeler suffered in Spring Training, as he said he is back to full strength.
Although Wheeler hasn't gotten off to the start that he envisioned coming into the season, he hasn't let that keep him from having some optimism going forward.
"[The] first two (games) were not very good. I didn't throw that many strikes, and then when I did I was getting hit-around, when you walk guys that doesn't help either. That last start that I had I didn't walk anybody, I was attacking the strike zone and I felt a little more comfortable out there."
With a lot of eyes being focused on Wheeler as he is one step away from being called up 51's manager, Wally Backman feels that it won't be long until Wheeler gets to the big leagues.
"Zack is a power-pitcher with a power breaking ball. For me it's just a matter of Zack being a little more consistent having command of his pitches. He is not far away from the big leagues, he not that far away from being real good in the big leagues," Backman said.
Backman expects big things for Wheeler in 2013, but he doesn't think much of that will be for him and the 51's.
"I don't think I'll have him the whole season. My expectations are to try and get him better and get him to the big leagues as soon as they need him," Backman said.
Wheeler Working His Way Back Up
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