Mets Minors: Zack Wheeler earns his top prospect ranking

Zack Wheeler came to the Mets as a top prospect who seemed to have a few issues.  Namely, control.  Back in the CAL when he was with San Francisco’s A+ affiliate, he was walking half as many batters as he struck out.  Which isn’t good when you strike out as many as he did.  Averaging .5 BBs an inning would be a problem for any player that your team expected to be a future Ace.

2012 started rocky, with a 3 inning outing that saw 3 walks and 4 Ks and 2 earned runs.  The subsequent 2 starts have been reminiscent of the Wheeler who pitched for the Mets in Port St. Lucie in 2011, who went a combined 12 innings with 17 Ks and only 3 walks.

It’ll take quite a lot for him to move up to AAA before the All-Star break but I expect him to finish the year with Buffalo and be in Spring Training with Harvey, Familia and Mejia in 2013.

Some Notes:

Wheeler’s splits are interesting and he’s striking out far more righties than lefties.  This is aided by the fact he’s likely also face more righties but the lefties are also responsible for 3 of the 4 runs scored against him thus far.  In 4.1 innings against lefties he has 3 walks vs. 2 walks in 10.2 against righties.  This seems to indicate that Wheeler might be trying to hard when lefties get up.  If he becomes more comfortable with allowing his defense to support him, he might cut his struggles against south paws.

His solid pitching has not necessarily meant additional ticks in the win column.  Despite a 1.50 ERA in his last two starts Wheeler has yet to notch his first AA win.

Around the Minors:

AAA:

Zach Lutz Continues to Hit – He’s the biggest star in Buffalo not named Valentino and I’m starting to wonder when his name starts to get floated in trade rumors.  Thus far, he has 5 doubles, 3 HRs and 10 RBI along with a .322 AVG and a .971 OPS.

Chris Schwinden Ready in Reserve – Mr. Schwinden has been sharp in his 4 starts this season having 1 bad outing and three solid starts.  Control seemed to be an issue in the early going but that ship appears righted and Chris should be set to be the first name called in case of injury.

AA:

Jefry Marte Would Like you to Put Him Back on your Prospect Radar – The AFL was a breakout campaign for Marte who hasn’t consistently shined in the minors.  It’s still early, but he’s certainly still shining thus far.  He’s getting on base at an unrealistic clip of .435 but he’s also not hitting with as much power as I’d expect so everything should balance out.  If he can keep his OPS above .900 it’s all good.

I’m a McHugh Fan and you Should Be Too – In 4 starts in AA Collin McHugh has had zero BAD starts. He’s another version of Dillon Gee and Chris Schwinden but I’ve heard his stuff is slightly better.  I have McHugh pegged to be the #5 pitcher in the Met rotation of the future.

Smoke and Mirrors Just Fine – Whatever Darin Gorski is doing to succeed… is perfectly fine with me.  This big lefty doesn’t profile to match his size but he does seem to be getting a lot of success as a starter.  While I’d still not bet on him making a major league rotation he’s off to a fine start in AA.

Super Glad We Kept Elvin Ramirez Does the name Elvin Ramirez ring any bells?  We almost lost him to the Rule 5 draft.  Thus far in AA he’s making people forget about Josh Edgin. which is tough.  He has numbers near Leathersich’s numbers in Brooklyn last year, K/9 nearly 18.  His walks are still a problem but he’s starting to look like a player who could soon step into a closer role at some point.

A+:

Danny Muno Not Fazed By Skipping Savannah – In 2011 Muno became a fan favorite in Brooklyn with some solid speed and a bunch of extra base hits (fueled by said speed).  In 2012… he’s hitting .322, he’s walked 9 times with only 11 K’s, He has 8 doubles 1 triple and 2 HRs and looking like a true hitting star.  The Mets have shifted him 95% to second base which is a bummer because he’d be our #1 SS prospect if they hadn’t.

Oh… That’s Where Wilmer Flores Has Been Hiding – After a disappointing 2011 and a rocky (powerless) start to 2012 lots of people were writing Wilmer Flores off.  The last 10 games have raised his BA to .320 and seen is OPS in the 1.000 range.  If he can keep on this role, you have my permission to get excited again.

Chase Huchingson too Solid to Ignore 3 Starts… 3 wins… 0.00 ERA.  He’s not blowing the competition away but he should be on everyone’s radar.

A:

Travis Taijeron Comes on STRONG – He’s not Aderlin Rodrgiguez but for better or worse,  Travis Teijeron is displaying the power he showed in Brooklyn in Savannah.  Flaws… his BA is poor but everyone not named T.J. Rivera has a poor BA on that team.

Domingo Tapia is Awesome – Okay… so the issue had been throwing hard and not missing bats now… its… nothing.  Tapia is striking out over 10 per 9, he’s barely walking anyone, his whip is low and he’s getting TONS of grounders.  He should be in the Met’s top 10 prospects by years end if he keeps this up.

Jack Leathersich Finally Looks Human – I was set to write something on Leathersich who had somehow managed to replicate his ridiculous 2011 numbers in 4 outings in Savannah.  He hit a bump in the road… no big deal in the long run.

On The Mend: Jenrry Mejia and Reese Havens are playing in extended Spring Training games.  Both look like they are on track to join the B-Mets by mid-late May.

 

3 comments for “Mets Minors: Zack Wheeler earns his top prospect ranking

  1. Brian Joura
    April 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    As the leader of the Darin Gorski bandwagon, I take exception to the “Smoke and Mirrors” description. He’s got a solid MLB fastball, one we saw hit 92 in Spring Training, good control and last year he was voted as having the best changeup in the farm system. People are biased against him because he came out of nowhere last year and is a tad old for his league.

    I see Gorski as Mark Redman with a better fastball. Redman made 203 starts in the majors.

    • David Groveman
      April 23, 2012 at 12:58 pm

      Think the gun was reading everyone high that day. I am a fan but I think he survives on deception.

      • Brian Joura
        April 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm

        If it said he threw 96, I’d believe the gun was high. But 92 fits right in with the velocity reports last year from both Keith Law and Kevin Goldstein.

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