It is now May and the talk of these prospects is heating up. d’Arnuad is out with a broken foot and is due back soon while Wheeler just missed a start due to soreness in his neck. The team decided to play it safe with their top pitching prospect, as his eventual call up is right around the corner.
Ever since acquiring Wheeler from the Giants back in 2011 for Carlos Beltran, he has been the talk of the town along with Matt Harvey as the saviors of the Mets. This hype has caused concern for many as there is a tremendous amount of pressure on these two kids, especially Wheeler.
Harvey has always been looked at as the number two to Wheeler, the cherry on top of the sundae that is the future Mets pitching rotation. He has now exploded onto the scene in Flushing and is viewed as one of the best young pitchers of the game.
For Mets fans, this is a breath of fresh air in the rotation and now every time he pitches it becomes a national holiday or “Matt Harvey Day”. But what this does is put a ton of pressure on Wheeler to live up to some big expectations.
Ask any scout about Wheeler and they will tell you that his stuff is fantastic and that it’s “better than Harvey’s”. This is a scary notion to think about, because of Harvey’s great start.
On the other end of the coin, Wheeler isn’t hidden from any of this talk and hype. He knows what is expected of him, he knows that he is supposedly “better than Harvey” and he knows that he needs to live up to these expectations, especially in a city like Flushing.
The thing that Mets fans need to know right now, Wheeler won’t be better than Harvey. If he is, then that this article will be incorrect and it probably means the Mets are winning NL East titles easily, which all Mets fans can enjoy. What Wheeler will be is the Robin to Harvey’s Batman. He will be a great # 2 pitcher for the Mets. Wheeler will give the Mets a solid top three in their rotation with Harvey and Niese.
Because of this hype and these high expectations, being the number two guy in Flushing won’t live up to the image that fans have for Wheeler. Wheeler needs to put all this hype behind him and ignore it, and be the best pitcher he knows how to be. He doesn’t need to try harder than he already is, as it may end up hurting his growth as a pitcher. What he needs to be is Zack Wheeler and the fans need to accept that and not be frustrated when he may not live up to their expectations of him.
If Wheeler puts too much pressure on himself and fails, the Mets may waste a huge opportunity to be very good for a long time.