It is safe to say that no one considered the New York Mets to be playoff contenders at the beginning of the baseball season, but if they don’t provide their fans with a glimpse of the future fairly soon, then the Mets’ faithful might lose interest in this year really quickly.
Zack Wheeler, the coveted 22-year old Minor League pitcher, could provide that spark for the Mets’ starting rotation and bring fans to Citi Field.
With a 12-16 record, and a 3-8 record in the past 11 games, the Mets have fallen to fourth place, 5.5 games back, in the National League Eastern division.
Not only have they been playing poorly as a team, but their starting pitching has been dreadful outside of pitching phenom, Matt Harvey, who is currently 4-0 with a 1.56 Earned-Run Average according to statistics found on nymets.com. If you don’t include Harvey’s stats, the Mets starting pitching has a record of 4-11 and has only 73 strikeouts. These stats aren’t good enough for any team that is trying to compete. This is especially true for the Mets who don’t have much fire-power on offense.
Besides Harvey and the franchise superstar third baseman, David Wright, there aren’t too many exciting players on the Mets roster that could help them win games much less bring people to the stands for their home games. If they want to compete at the Major League level, they will need more talent in their starting rotation, but the Mets just don’t have that right now.
All Mets fans need to know is that Jeremy Hefner, Aaron Laffey and Shaun Marcum have made a total of nine starts for the team. In no way, shape, or form is this tandem strong enough to be the fourth and fifth starters for a major league team.
As a result, it is necessary for the Mets to call up Wheeler sooner than later because as of right now, the talent is not there in their starting rotation. Although people don’t want to rush his development, Wheeler has demonstrated that he has tools to be a better pitcher than Jeremy Hefner, Aaron Laffey and Shaun Marcum.
The Mets acquired Zack Wheeler in a trade that General Manager, Sandy Alderson, pulled off in July of 2011. The trade sent slugger and proven veteran outfielder Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants, for Wheeler, who was the Giants’ top pitching prospect at the time.
With a year and a half in the Mets’ farm system, Wheeler has demonstrated a lot of growth and because of that he is currently ranked eighth on MLB.com’s top 100 prospects for the 2013 season. He is on the cusp of making it to the majors relatively soon regardless of a few bumps in the road he had earlier this year.
Despite the struggles Wheeler had in the beginning of the season for the Las Vegas 51s, which is the Mets Triple-A affiliate, he has performed extremely well in his last two starts. His last start against the Sacramento River Cats, which is the Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate, he had a stellar game, only allowing three hits and no earned runs over six shutout innings.
Calling up Wheeler will not only benefit the Mets, but it will help Wheeler get acclimated to facing big league hitting. When Matt Harvey was called up to the majors in July of last year, he had a few tough games, going 3-5 in ten starts last year, but he has been lights-out in his first six starts of the 2013 season.
If the Mets plan to be a serious playoffs threat by 2015, they need to start getting their prospects Major League ready now, and this is particularly true for their top-10 prospect. Even though the Mets’ time isn’t now in regards to fighting for a playoff spot, the time is now for their Minor League talent to get the experience they need.
Erick Fernandez is the creator of I Want to Thank My Hood & My Psychiatrist
Follow Erick on Twitter