Player Profile: Selected by the San Francisco Giants sixth overall in the 2009 MLB draft, New York Mets starting pitcher Zack Wheeler sits in the fifth starter role on what many believe is the best starting pitching staff in baseball. Wheeler made his debut with the Mets in June 2013 against the Braves where he threw six innings allowing four hits and striking out seven for his first career win. The hard throwing right-hander will enter his fourth year in the MLB in 2016.
2015 highlights: Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery due to a torn UCL suffered during Spring Training. This deflated the announcement that Matt Harvey would be healthy for the 2015 season as the Mets starting rotation would be incomplete yet again. His first full season in the MLB in 2014, the 24-year-old went 11-11 with a 3.54 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 32 starts. Wheeler has a devastating five-pitch repertoire that features a 95-100 mph fastball like his fellow Mets starters. Wheeler’s injury brought Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz into the majors where they luckily flourished in his absence. He is expected to return some time in July 2016.
Contract Situation: Wheeler is pre-arbitration eligible meaning the Mets can negotiate a deal for 2016, but if they can’t reach an agreement by March 1st, the team can dictate what he will receive for the season. Wheeler made $546K in 2015.
Tradable/Untradeable: Wheeler is other piece of the biggest trade deadline deal that never happened between the Brewers and Mets last year. The Mets still say that they will not be shopping Wheeler any time soon. However, Wheeler could be a great addition in a deal that could land the Mets a big bat like the one that almost happened last season. If the Mets rotation is holding their own without him, and more offense is needed, don’t be surprised to hear Wheeler in trade rumors.
2016 Outlook: If he returns to the rotation on time, Wheeler could make a big difference in the second half of the season as the fifth starter among a rotation that is already dominate. The Mets have been anxiously waiting to see their starting pitching staff in full health especially Wheeler who rounds out the bunch. Expect Wheeler to earn about five or six wins and produce quality innings for the Mets once he returns in 2016.