Zack Wheeler starting to get it in gear

WheelerDon’t look now but it appears that Zack Wheeler is starting to nicely round into shape.

After a rocky start with some fans and media losing confidence in him, Wheeler has quieted some of his critics of late.

Although he only has two wins (2-5) on the year, Wheeler is putting up quality outing after quality of late. In his last three starts, Wheeler has recorded a quality start in each outing. In that time, Wheeler has tossed 19.2 innings while allowing just three earned runs on 12 hits and three walks and striking out 23 batters in the process.

Maybe Wheeler is finally getting it after all.

Wheeler did all in his power to win Tuesday’s game, shutting down the Chicago Cubs for 6.2 innings and giving up just two hits and two walks. He clearly deserved a better fate than a no-decision, as he simply did not get the necessary run support to claim the victory. It would doom the Mets late, as they lost in walk-off fashion falling to the Cubs, 2-1.

What has been fueling Wheeler recently is the lack of free passes he is giving up. While his 3.8 BB/9 ratio on the year is not exactly inspiring, Wheeler has issued only three walks in his last 19.2 innings. In contrast, Wheeler has struck out 23 batters in those 19.2 innings.

During this stretch, Wheeler has lowered his ERA one full point from when it was 4.89 on May 18 to where it now stands at 3.89. And for good measure, Wheeler has a 9 K/9 ratio and his FIP is a solid 3.35 on the year. So, clearly he is doing his job.

Fans who wanted another Matt Harvey were not going to get that in Wheeler. Many fans in some ways got spoiled by Harvey’s meteoric rise to stardom. Most pitchers need time to refine their mechanics and skills and Wheeler is certainly one of those type of pitchers who needed time to adjust to the speed of the game.

While Wheeler may look to have corrected a few things, Wheeler still has yet to pitch a full year in the majors, so naturally it’s normal to expect more ups and downs. Clearly, though, it looks like he is on the right track to success.

If Wheeler keeps pitching like this and can cut down on the walks, the potential he has is limitless. Let’s hope Wheeler can bottle this up and harness his tremendous upside and fully break out like we all thought he could.

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4 comments for “Zack Wheeler starting to get it in gear

  1. Name
    June 5, 2014 at 8:59 am

    If he’s ever wants to jump into a higher tier of pitchers, he’s going to need to work on efficiency. He’s averaging 17.6 P/IP on the year, and during this hot stretch it’s only down to 16.9. As a result, he’s yet to pitch 7 innings this year, despite having outings where he has given up as little as 2 hits.
    The elite guys are as low as 13-14. I don’t believe he will ever reach that, but high 15s to low 16s might be possible.

    • Dan Stack
      June 5, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Yeah I was going to mention that. He does labor and that is also holding him back.

  2. Joe Vasile
    June 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I don’t think anybody could have realistically expected Wheeler to have as meteoric a rise as Harvey, but I’ve been pretty pleased with him this year. Especially over his last few starts, he has shown signs of improvement, and has been doing a better job of putting hitters away and working deeper in games, which was an issue last year. His K:BB ratios have been much better this season, and like you said, over the last three games 7.67 K:BB is nothing short of fantastic. Let’s hope he can keep this up!

  3. Chris F
    June 5, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Ok, his last 2 starts have been against weak opponents. I need to see this continue on when the going gets tough. His next projected start is against SF. Let’s get together after that and see where we stand. He has to improve on 17 p/inn big time. If we only get 6 and change innings per start, well, it’s bad.

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