The Mets have a potential ace not named Matt Harvey, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom or Steven Matz but 25-year-old Zack Wheeler. Wheeler is the right-hander who was the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 MLB draft who is recovering well after last March’s Tommy John surgery.
Mets manager, Terry Collins, told MLB.com’s Barry Bloom recently, “He looks tremendous”. Wheeler is currently down in Port St. Lucie, Florida at the Mets spring training facility throwing and preparing for his comeback season.
Every young Mets starter has had the surgery except for Syndergaard so Wheeler will have many resources in terms of obtaining valuable insight on how to train properly after said surgery. Most importantly how to not skip or rush steps in the progression towards being fully healed and healthy.
Barring any setbacks, the Mets should have Wheeler ready to contribute by the All Star break. The big question is will Wheeler contribute to the 2016 Mets on the mound or will he be the big chip used in a trade that completes the Mets roster?
The Mets would be wise to keep Wheeler. Former Mets General Manager, Frank Cashen always said, “You can never have enough pitching”.
Even after winning the 1986 World Series consisting of one of the greatest pitching staffs of all-time, Cashen still added to his stable of stud pitchers and made the trade of the year that offseason with the fleecing of a 23-year-old flamethrower named David Cone from the Kansas City Royals.
Cashen was more on target than anyone knew as the 1987 Mets opened up with ace Dwight Gooden in rehabilitation and nearly every starter (including Cone) going on the disabled list that season. Journeyman pitcher Terry Leach won 11 games for the Mets that season filling in for all of the injured Mets starters when he wasn’t even supposed to be on the team.
The 2015 Mets were very lucky in that none of the starting pitchers suffered any injuries (excluding rookie Steven Matz). The odds of that happening again are slim, just ask the 1987 N.Y. Mets.
The 2016 projected Mets starting rotation consists of Harvey who missed the 2014 season, Matz who missed the 2010 and 2011 seasons and deGrom who missed the 2011season and half of 2012 seasons all due to Tommy John surgery. I think it is safe to say that Cashen was right and that you can never have enough pitching which is why the Mets need to resist the temptation of trading Wheeler and let him fully recover from his injury so that he can be an added pitching weapon for the second half of the 2016 MLB season.