What does Zack Wheeler bring to the table?

If that question had been asked on February 8th, the answer would be most likely a suitcase, a lawyer, and the potential to contribute to an elite Mets pitching staff. Of course on February 8th the table Zack Wheeler would have been coming to would be a negotiation table, sitting opposite if the New York Mets. The two sides couldn’t agree on a salary heading into the 2018 season, so an arbitration meeting was necessary.

More often than not, we see arbitration hearings for star players stuck under cheap, team-friendly deals. In Wheeler’s case however, the Mets are just simply unsure if what they’re going to get from the righty. After all, the righty hasn’t pitched consistently for the team since 2014, a time before competitiveness was even a question for the team. This was of course the season before the Mets elite pitching and dynamic home run style took the league by storm. Wheeler, who was the top piece of the 2011 Carlos Beltran trade, has always been the odd man out of the rotation.

Prior to 2015, what was supposed to be Wheeler’s breakout season, he tore his Ulnar Collateral Ligament, forcing him into the infamous Tommy John surgery. Complications forced the rehab for Wheeler to miss not only all of 2015, but 2016 as well. Wheeler has never been able to be apart of a competitive Mets rotation, which is a shame considering he was supposed to be a major part of it. He won his arbitration case against the Mets, and he will earn $1.9 million for this season.

The Mets, who otherwise spent a surprising amount of money this offseason, were hesitant to spend money on Wheeler. Last season, in his first time back from two injury delayed seasons, Wheeler struggled. He was placed on the disabled list twice, and finished with a 3-7 record and 5.21 record. It makes everyone wonder what, if anything, is still in the tank for Wheeler.

Of course the young culture that’s in baseball forces us to beg this question. The reality is that teams tend to lean towards players that are young and team controlled. Wheeler has not even reached his prime yet at age 27. I have confidence that he can regain his 2014 form, when he pitched to a solid 3.54 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 185 innings pitched.

Wheeler used to bring velocity to his performance, which made him a dynamic presence on the mound. The best thing that Wheeler has right now is that he didn’t lose that velocity, it seemed he only lost his command. According to Fangraphs, Wheeler only lost .8 mph on his fastball from 2014 to 2017, which shows his arm still has the strength that it used to.

Of course there are some that don’t see Wheeler being able to gain back his old form. Its understandable after last year’s performance. Just think of how huge a boost a healthy Wheeler would be to this rotation however. If Wheeler can contribute to the rotation that also has Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, it would be huge for this team. Wheeler still has miles left in his tank, and its time for him to contribute to that winning rotation that he has always wanted to be a part of.

8 comments for “What does Zack Wheeler bring to the table?

  1. Meticated
    February 10, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Wheeler will surprise with how good he is this season.

  2. Chris F
    February 10, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    The biggest thing he brings to the table is injury and instability. Then he brings lack of control. He also brings incredible promise. I was one who said after the elbow clean out he was going to find control, but I was wrong. He has a raw, really raw, gift. I just am rooting for Callaway and Eiland to find that magical bean that solves the control issue.

  3. February 10, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    He had 10 starts last year where he was pretty good and then the wheels came off. Can he build on those 10 starts? Maybe. I’m not convinced that he can but I think he should be given a shot. But my preference would be with a short leash and the understanding that a bullpen assignment is definitely in play if the results aren’t there.

    • Dalton Allison
      February 11, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      Either way, production would be huge out of him.

  4. TexasGusCC
    February 10, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Nice piece Dalton; presenting alot of facts rather than opinions. In fact, Wheeler does have alot of miles left, but certainly he has many issues to overcome.

    • Dalton Allison
      February 11, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      If he could overcome these issues, he could turn a good rotation into a great one.

  5. Eraff
    February 11, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Wheeler reminds me of AJ Burnett… big arm and lack of command. If Wheeler ended up with that career, you’d take it at this point.

  6. MattyMets
    February 12, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    I really don’t understand arbitration rulings. How does a guy get rewarded for being injured? MLB contracts are guaranteed, so despite missing 2 1/2 of the past 3 seasons, Wheeler has received his full contractual pay. But what exactly has he done to deserve a raise to almost $2 million this year? I’m rooting for him – don’t get me wrong. Aribtration is presumably not based on potential so does a half season of inconsistent performance really equate to $2 million?

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