After weeks of speculation, the Mets finally pulled the trigger and traded Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for pitching prospect Zack Wheeler.
(This, of course, is contingent on the legalities of the deal which should become final by Thursday afternoon.)

While we wax nostalgic of the memories Beltran’s made in Queens, the next question will inevitably be: So, just who is Zack Wheeler, and is he any good?

Well, Wheeler just happens to be Baseball America’s #35 prospect in the minors in their most recent midyear report. Wheeler is a prospect who projects to be no lower than a #2 pitcher going forward, with a ceiling that he can eventually become an ace.

Here are some basic facts you should know:

Wheeler is a 21-year-old righty who was drafted sixth overall out of high school by the San Francisco Giants in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft. Wheeler stands 6-3 and weighs 180 lbs. while hailing from Dallas, Georgia.

While playing for San Francisco’s Single-A San Jose squad this season, Wheeler has started 16 games and has gone 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA. In 88 innings pitched he has complied 98 strikeouts while issuing 47 walks.

Scouts say that Wheeler is long and lean, and one who comes equipped with a very deceptive delivery.

Wheeler is very effective with his fastball and usually throws in the 91-94 MPH range. What he does effectively with his fastball is tie up righties inside with it, while getting lefties to chase.

What also makes Wheeler special is the long strides he makes in his delivery, which is said to look like he’s pitching 45 feet away.

Wheeler’s curveball is also above average. He usually keeps it down in the zone and gets many batters chasing at it.

One of the main weaknesses to Wheeler’s game is that he doesn’t have an effective changeup in his repertoire. Wheeler is also working on a slider, but at this time he is most effective with his slurve.

In SNY’s pregame telecast of the Mets/Reds game on Wednesday night, Ron Darling said that the people he talks to say that his frame and delivery is very reminiscent of one Pedro Martinez.

In any event, the Mets looked like they bagged a quality prospect and one that will make his mark with the Mets in the next year or two. Wheeler still needs a lot of seasoning. My best guess is that Wheeler will not be part of the Mets until late in the 2012 season (probably a September call-up) and won’t challenge for a spot in the rotation until 2013. By that time, the Mets might have a core of talented young arms (Jenrry Mejia, Matt Harvey and Jeurys Familia) that could carry the rotation until the next decade.

This is a deal that should pay off big dividends in the long run. And heck, who knows, maybe the Mets will get Beltran back in the off-season, which is another rumor that is circulating. In any event, this is a great trade pulled of by Sandy Alderson.

So, as we bid adieu to Beltran with great appreciation and thanks, let’s also welcome Mr. Wheeler to New York.

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