While both Wheeler and Edgin were a big part of the high expectations that surround the Amazin’s this spring, neither player was the be-all-end-all. Realistically, even with a healthy Wheeler and Edgin the Mets had a lot of prove this year anyway -- as a team! Playoffs were never a guarantee even with Wheeler in the rotation, and Edgin in the pen. This is a franchise that hasn’t finished a season at .500 or better since the collapse of 2008, and hasn’t talked playoffs seriously since 2007.
So before Mets fans burn their 2015 Mets season tickets, pump the breaks and relax. All is not lost.
Wheeler is a good young pitcher, but he’s not an ace. Wheeler has been built up as an ace both by the Mets, the fans and the media, but has yet to live up that that expectation. In fact the expectations haven’t been fair either.
Last year when Matt Harvey went down with a UCL injury, everyone turned toward Wheeler to lead the staff. Instead he struggled posting a 3-8 record and a 4.56 ERA in the first half of the year. As it turned out deGrom emerged as that “No. 2 ace” as the season moved into its second stanza.
Most of Wheeler’s issues last year were walks. He walked 79 batters last year, and had a real hard time getting out of jams, forcing Terry Collins to routinely go to the bullpen. On average Wheeler pitched 5.7 innings per start. By contrast Matt Harvey averaged 6.8 innings per start in 2013. deGrom? He averaged 6.4 innings per start.
Is Wheeler a lost cause? Absolutely not. He’s 26-years-old, and there is plenty of room for him to come into his own as a starting pitcher at this level. Chances are he might comeback even better after a year away from Tommy John’s Surgery. Even without Wheeler the Mets can still be good. They still have Harvey and deGrom to lead the staff. Jon Niese, the forgotten one, is a very solid number three starter. Dillion Gee, whom the Mets almost traded this offseason, is now even more important as the number four starter. While Gee won’t blow people away with electric stuff, he’s as dependable as there is for a fourth starter in the Majors.
Oh, and did I mention Noah Syndergaard is coming up eventually too? He probably won’t make the opening day roster, but that number five slot might be his come June or July.
So relax Mets fans there is no reason to hit the panic button just yet.