Zack Wheeler’s struggles should not be a concern

Zack WheelerZack Wheeler isn’t having the best start to his season and some fans are panicking about his development at the big league level.

The biggest problem has been Wheeler’s command. And that problem was on display last night against the Yankees.  He walked six batters over the course of his start and it took him 81 pitches to get through his first three innings of work.

This lack of control can be attributed to Wheeler’s mechanics, as it was last year. After his call up last year, Wheeler had struggles with his command that led him to having short starts. His arm angle and release point contributed to his tipping of pitches.  But Wheeler is still young and learning.

Everyone is comparing Wheeler to Matt Harvey, which is magnifying his struggles even more. Because of Matt Harvey’s fantastic start to his career, most Mets fans think the highly touted pitching prospects like Wheeler, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard should have the same success. Matt Harvey is a once in a generation pitcher. These other guys can be great and be aces in the league, but they can’t be Matt Harvey. They aren’t Matt Harvey.

This is still Wheeler’s first full season as a major league pitcher and he is still working on locking down his mechanics. The Mets don’t need him to be Harvey; they need him to be Zack Wheeler.

Wheeler’s goal for the rest of the season should be to lock down his motion; it’s the key to his problem. His pitch arsenal is fantastic. He has four to five above average pitches that he can blow by any hitter. It’s not his stuff that is the problem; it’s his control that is.

The pressure is also a big part of the problem. There is a lot riding on the success of Zack Wheeler for the Mets. He feels that pressure and he might not be equipped to handle it or at least not yet.

Each of Wheeler’s starts needs to be a building block. Building mental toughness is a huge part of success at the big league level and every start for Wheeler needs to do that.

Fans shouldn’t panic about Wheeler. Not everyone can have success right away. If at the end of the season Wheeler is still struggling in this capacity that would be the time to panic.

Wheeler needs to work with Dan Warthen and the rest of the pitching staff. The best way to learn in this game is by watching others and asking questions. It would do wonders for Wheeler to buddy up with a pitcher and learn.

Zack Wheeler will be fine, he’s gotten this far and has proven already that he has the pitches and the ability to be a good pitcher at this level. It’s all about putting it together on a consistent level. When that happens, the rest of the league should watch out because the Mets will get better.

4 comments for “Zack Wheeler’s struggles should not be a concern

  1. Name
    May 14, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    And now we know why Montero and deGrom were both summoned up and why deGrom was not used yesterday. Mets SP takes its first hit of the season as Gee heads to the DL with a strained lat.

  2. Patrick Albanesius
    May 14, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    The only comparisons I’ve heard all winter and spring are how we shouldn’t compare Wheeler to Harvey, and so far no one has, to my ears anyway. Wheeler’s mechanics are not sublime, but not everyone needs to throw the ball the exact same way. The biggest trouble I saw last night was his communication with TDA. He was throwing every pitch he had early, and wasn’t locating anything. He even shook TDA off three times on a pick-off play. Maybe he should just throw what is called. Logic suggests you first learn how to pitch, then you can figure out what to pitch and when.

  3. Metsense
    May 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    “After getting knocked around in his second and third MLB starts, Wheeler settled in to deliver a 3.11 ERA over his final 14 starts. ” from Brian in his2014 projection article.
    I am not concerned at this point, nor am I impressed either. Last night was brutal but he was the one to lose out on the win. Hopefully he learned something and will respond like he did in 2013. I agree Chris, Wheeler will be fine, it just might take some patience and time.

  4. Jerry Grote
    May 14, 2014 at 4:36 pm


    He’s pitched 12 innings against the best hitting team in our division and struck out 17, giving up 1 run. 1. On the whole, he came into last night with a FIP ERA around 3.8 over his career’s 24 starts.

    He gets wild sometimes. Personally I think he’s better off shutting down one or two of those breaking pitches, getting his fastball in order and stop trying to be Tommy fucking Glavine.

    On a side note, every sportswriter in NYC is lining up an article about the Mets going Wheeler/Montero/DeGrom. By Sunday we’ll either be completely ruined for the next 30 years or winning the Series this fall four straight.

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