The Waiting Game: It’s not yet time for Wheeler or Montero

It looks like Jonathon Niese is expected to make his start on Sunday against the Phillies and the need for the Mets to promote a pitcher isn’t so pressing.  Add in that Jeremy Hefner pitched a relative gem on Thursday and the Mets look like a team that can wait for the All Star break to make their promotions.  Yet, every time there is an injury or a stumble by Dillon Gee or Hefner, people are going to call for the promotion of one of the two “BIG” arms in the Met system.

We’ve all heard the warning about wasting a year by promoting early for an extra month, but that doesn’t get to the heart of the issue.  The bigger issue with promoting Zack Wheeler or Rafael Montero is that they aren’t ready.

Full Name: Zachary Harrison Wheeler

Born: 05/30/1990

Birthplace: Smyrna, GA

Height: 6′ 4″

Weight: 185

Bats: L

Throws: R

 

G

W

L

ERA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

5

0

1

5.79

23.1

26

18

15

15

28

 

Wheeler could still one day be the Ace of the Mets that we are all hoping for.  He’s just not there yet.  His stats after 5 games of AAA this season have been pretty poor.  We expected Wheeler’s numbers to take a hit in the PCL but at the same time there are some numbers that have been bad that have nothing to do with the higher altitudes.  15 walks in 23.1 innings is not the kind of pitching that you WANT in the majors.  Until Wheeler establishes better control at the AAA level he has no place on an MLB roster.  The ERA and Hits are easier to overlook as he could still be an Ace in Flushing while he sports a 4.00 ERA in Las Vegas but we can likely all agree that averaging more hits than innings is not a secret to success.

Full Name: Rafael Montero

Born: 10/17/1990

Birthplace: Higuerito, Dominican Republic

Height: 6′ 0″

Weight: 170

Bats: R

Throws: R

 

G

W

L

ERA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

4

3

0

1.59

22.2

15

4

4

1

27

 

If you follow the minor league system you’ve probably learned Rafael’s name.  He slots into the top prospects behind d’Arnaud, Wheeler and Syndergaard and fights for fourth overall with Wilmer Flores.  Rafael Montero has been downright awesome in AA.  He’s striking people out, he’s not walking anyone and he’s keeping the opposing team off the scoreboard.  All good things.  Averaging over 5.0 innings a start is also good.  Here’s the big thing.  His 4 games in AA are his only games above Port St. Lucie and he needs more time… and maybe a promotion to AAA before we can start to imagine Montero taking the hill in Citi Field.  I will say that as a control pitcher, he likely doesn’t have the same hurdles in his way that Wheeler might… so seeing both Wheeler and Montero by the end of 2013 is possible.

Full Name: Collin Alexander McHugh

Born: 06/19/1987

Birthplace: Covington, GA

Height: 6′ 2″

Weight: 195

Bats: R

Throws: R

 

G

W

L

ERA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

4

2

0

1.93

23.1

28

8

5

4

18

 

The other name you might be hearing more of is Collin McHugh.  Looking at McHugh you’ll see a pitcher who looks similar in many ways to Hefner, Gee and Chris Schwinden.  McHugh might tick a few MPH higher on the fastball velocity but he’s not going to survive on his “Stuff”.  The secret to McHugh’s success is not so secret.  He’s going to get people out by hitting the corners and mixing up his pitches.  He can do that and I think he can probably do that on the big league level… but you can’t bank on immediate success after a promotion.  The good news is that his numbers are improving and he’s moved into a more hitter friendly division.  That being said AAA is not the MLB and there would be some expected growing pains.  If all things panned out I would say the Mets could move Gee at the deadline and look to McHugh to be Dillon Gee for them in 2014.  If you are looking for someone who IS likely to get the call if an injury befalls a starter… look no further.

3 comments for “The Waiting Game: It’s not yet time for Wheeler or Montero

  1. Metsense
    April 27, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Great analysis David. Wheeler shouldn’t be promoted until he masters his control, the heck with the NY media. If Montero keeps up his pitching at AA then it maybe worthwhile to promote him to AAA (to the majors would be ludicrous)as soon as mid May. I agree McHugh is next if an injury occurs . I wouldn’t trade Gee until he becomes the sixth starter which won’t be the case this summer.

    • April 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

      Once McHugh or Schwinden or some other starter is promoted to the majors, Montero will be promoted.

      • Metsense
        April 29, 2013 at 10:42 am

        Schwinden had his chance. (And I liked Chris) but he should not hold back Montero if he keeps pitching this way over his next 2 or 3 starts.

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