The Zack Wheeler hype will end up being his downfall

With 2013 being touted as a rebuilding year for the Mets, most fans are excited to see the debut of prospects like Travis d’Arnuad and Zack Wheeler.

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.

15 comments for “The Zack Wheeler hype will end up being his downfall

  1. Metsense
    May 22, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Wheeler just needs to be better than Beltran has been since the trade in 2011. In 2011 Beltran put up a 1.3 WAR for the SFG. That is all the Mets had invested in Beltran. The Mets could have had Beltran in RF now if they ponied up the 26M for the two years. BTW Beltran is earning his money in St Louis based on WAR value. So in his career the expectation to me is a 1.3 WAR in the next 6 + years the Mets have Zach. A very good chance they will win this trade even if he is only a 4th or 5th starter. He is a rookie and I don’t have expectations greater than that. (But my hopes are sky high).

    • za
      May 22, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Great way to look at it, Metsense. We lost very little in that trade and got a fantastic prospect who has lived up to his billing so far. I don’t think most fans see it that way, though, so there’s plenty of pressure on Wheeler. I’m just hoping his arm doesn’t fall off; this shoulder inflammation treated with cortisone doesn’t excite me. We’re using corticosteroids to treat/mask/hide a symptom. I hope it doesn’t recur but it’s worrisome.

  2. Name
    May 22, 2013 at 11:38 am

    I posed a question like this on the chatter about a week ago.
    Does Harvey’s early success help or hurt Wheeler?

    There are two ways he could approach it.
    The first way would be to put too much pressure on himself to be better than Harvey has been because he supposedly has better stuff and been a lot more hyped as you said. But there’s very little chance that Wheeler could put up the same type of numbers Harvey is doing(which is historic), and also better stuff doesn’t necessarily mean better results.
    The second way is that he puts less pressure on himself because he knows that he doesn’t have to be that guy, at least not right away. He knows that what Harvey is doing is historic and therefore doesn’t try to compete with him and just pitches to the best of his abilities rather than competing with Harvey.

    Only time will tell how this story will play out. Let’s hope it’s more like Harvey than like Pelfrey

    • Chris Schubert
      May 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

      And that’s it in a nutshell. Wheeler knows he doesn’t have to be the guy, but does he feel he still needs to live up to these expectations and be better than Harvey? Only time will tell. I still think the Mets only win this trade if Wheeler is a really good # 2 starter, or an ace caliber pitcher. If he turns out only being a # 4 or #5 pitcher, fans will feel (with good reason) that the Mets wasted Beltran to only get a back end rotation pitcher. My hope is that the fans just let Wheeler be Wheeler and join along for the ride.

      • za
        May 22, 2013 at 12:25 pm

        Mets fans may be less than optimistic if Wheeler turns out to be a #4 or #5, but I doubt that will wind up happening. He’s the type of guy who will be a solid #1/#2 or flame out due to catastrophic injury a la Mark Prior. Either way, it was worth the risk and I hope he gives us more than a couple of good years. In short, the best thing we can do as Mets fans is sit back, relax, enjoy his starts, and hope for the best.

      • Metsense
        May 22, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Wasted Beltran? On July 28,2011 the Mets were 54-51, 11.5 GB the Phillies and were selling not buying. Playing at the .514 winning % with Beltran they could have ended up 83-79 and around 18 games back. I don’t think Carlos, even as one of the best players in Met history, could make up that difference. The hype comes from unrealistic fans and media that believes every highly touted prospect is a sure fire can’t miss star.

        • Jerry Grote
          May 22, 2013 at 4:33 pm

          @metsense … correct me if I’m wrong, but I think Beltran’s WAR were pretty empty besides.

          His first month to 45 days with the Jints really were unproductive, and by time he turned it around the team was out of the race.

  3. May 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm


    Thanks for being a jerk. Here’s a tip – if you’ve never contributed at a site before, you might not want to have the very first thing out of your mouth be so condescending. Also, if you’re going to complain about a writer’s grammar, you shouldn’t have so many errors in your post.

    Your second sentence was a fragment, your third sentence (and many others) contained a capitalization error, your fourth sentence had “whose” when it should have been “who is.”

    Glass houses, ya know…

  4. May 22, 2013 at 3:03 pm

    It’s doubtful Wheeler will be able to pull off the kind of start Harvery has to begin his career, but that shouldn’t fluster him one bit. Go out, pitch the way you know how to pitch and do your thing.

    I still think the Mets hosed the Giants getting Wheeler for half a season of Beltran and I’m just waiting for Wheeler to prove me right when he shows the big leagues what he is capable of.

  5. May 22, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Hey Chris. Great read. I feel like saying it “will” end up being his downfall is a bit premature. It “may,” absolutely.

    I also agree with Bryan M. in that the Mets fleeced the Giants on that deal. Mets couldn’t get compensation for him if he signed with another team (in his contract), so they would literally have gotten nothing for him at the end of the season. The fact that they got a prospect of Wheeler’s caliber was amazing.

    • Chris Schubert
      May 22, 2013 at 7:35 pm

      Thanks Rob. I appreciate the read. Fair point to say that it “may” be is downfall. I do feel that it will hinder him in some way. It may not ruin his status and may not end up changing the pitcher he becomes, but I think it’s something to watch for going forward. The pressure will only mount as he gets closer to and eventually joins the big leagues.

  6. Nicholas Sinisi
    May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    As long as Wheeler makes the rotation and pitches well, it was a good trade.

    • Chris Schubert
      May 22, 2013 at 7:36 pm

      Fair, but each person has their own expectations and definition of “well”.

  7. May 22, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    Wheeler knows how good he is. That’s all that matters. You can speculate all you want and it’s up to you. He’s not a life saver. Only another piece to be added to an anemic starting rotation. No he’s not Tom Seaver. He’s Zsck Wheeler. This is a lost season anyway. So why wait? Bring him up and he can take the 5th spot on the rotation. Let’s get the startinf rotation ready for 2014.

  8. kjs
    May 23, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    What is amazing is that THE PLAYER is here. His name is Matt Harvey and he appears to be a generational pitcher with a HOF attitude and a great coach in his father. Odds that Wheeler will be in Harvey’s league are slim, but with good development, he’ll be an asset. We rushed everyone from Kranepool to Strawberry. We’re a 70-win team for a few more years. No need to rush Wheeler. Especially to a team that may be on par with his AAA team.

    Boycott the Wilpons.

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