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Thursday, August 7, 2014

FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: ZACK WHEELER SP NEW YORK METS

                                                           Zack Wheeler

It was a start set up for disaster for New York Mets SP Zack Wheeler on Tuesday night.  Clearly not having his best stuff, Wheeler's sometimes shoddy control was rearing its ugly head and the hits were piling up.  If this was the Wheeler of 2013 or the Wheeler from April or May, the pitching line more than likely would have been a 5 earned run in 2 IP horror show.  However that Wheeler has been a thing of the past since June began as the current version of the young fireballer has been a tough and determined power pitcher who is realizing his vast potential.  Despite giving up a combined 11 hits and walks in 6.1 innings, Wheeler wound up giving up only one earned run in to the first-place Washington Nationals in a Mets victory.  The outing continued the lowering of Wheeler's season ERA to a very good 3.48.  So what has taken place with Wheeler over the last two months that has him on the cusp of maybe SP 2 status or better going forward?  Let's take a look.

At only 24 years old, Wheeler is still incredibly young but stardom has been predicted for him from the beginning on the strength of his 98-mph fastball and solid secondary stuff.  Unfortunately like many young power starters, Wheeler has dealt with some poor control since coming up to the Mets in 2013 which have blown up his WHIP, shortened his outings, and cost him wins.  However the growth has been terrific in 2014 as evidenced by his monthly numbers:

April:  3.99 ERA/1.43 WHIP
May:  4.59 ERA/1.44 WHIP
June:  4.13 ERA/1.29 WHIP
July:  1.67 ERA/1.18 WHIP

As you can see, the ERA and WHIP have both taken a sharp move downward, with July being a dominant month.  Most of that growth had to do with Wheeler's control improvement as he went from walking 16 and 15 batters in May and June to only 9 in July.  And what has stayed true to form throughout the entire season has been the solid 8.71 K rate Wheeler has toted.  With the fastball velocity staying in the upper 90's and with better control. the full impact of Wheeler is being unleashed now on the major leagues.  By the looks of it, his step up could be here to stay.

Yours truly has been quite the critic of Wheeler going back to last season but that was because of the ugly walks and poor pitch efficiency which is a big no-no in fantasy baseball parlance.  However I never have stayed form saying how good the potential of Wheeler could be and that if he ever ironed out the rough edges, he would be very solid.  It looks like that is where we are at now with Wheeler as he has the ability to be an SP 2 the rest of the way and into the 2015 season.  This is a kid who is on a clear upward plane in his development and all the signs are looking good.  Get on board.

 

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