What Can Mets Expect From Zack Wheeler?

What exactly should the New York Mets realistically expect from Zack Wheeler this summer?

He was 7-5 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 starts last year, and to double the victories would be a good progression especially if his starts were doubled to 34. What is unfair would be to think he’s have a Matt Harvey type season, one in which he captured the imagination of the city and made the All-Star team.

WHEELER: What can we expect?

WHEELER: What can we expect?

I’m not in agreement with those who debunk the traditional pitching statistics of victories and ERA, which have been fair measuring sticks for over 100 years. Just because something has been a staple for a century-plus does not make it outdated or obsolete.

Victories mean games won, and isn’t that the objective of the sport – to win games? I realize the game has changed and pitchers don’t throw complete games anymore, but even with limited innings, getting a “W’’ means you kept your team in the game. How is that not important?

If Wheeler can increase his victories by one a month, that’s six over the course of the season, and 13 total for the year. I’d take that for starters.

An ERA measures runs allowed, which is vastly more important for a starter, because even a few runs over a short number of innings greatly inflates a reliever’s ERA.

If Wheeler duplicates last year’s ERA, especially with an increase over last season’s 100 innings it would be more than acceptable. Manager Terry Collins suggested during the Winter Meetings 200 innings for Wheeler isn’t out of the question, but an innings limit hasn’t been ruled out.

What Harvey accomplished last year prior to his injury was exceptional, but that was his achievement, not Wheeler’s. Wheeler is unique in his own right and to say he’ll be just as dominant is unfair.

For now, I just don’t want to see a regression, just some improvement to suggest he’s heading in the right direction.

Your comments are greatly appreciated and I will attempt to respond. Follow me on Twitter @jdelcos

9 thoughts on “What Can Mets Expect From Zack Wheeler?

  1. Wheeler will win 30 games and have a 1.00 era

    Seriously. I think he will do well. I don’t know what his record is but I expect him to improve.

    • Dave: Barring injury, I think he will improve. There might be some bumps along the way, but at the end of the season we’ll see something good.-JD

  2. 10-12 wins is a reasonable expectation. if they get Drew and first base isn’t a dark hole maybe 15 wins.

  3. What I like about Wheeler is that he has a much better delivery than Harvey. As a former scout, I was always amazed at people who said Harvey had great mechanics. It was clear that he was a short armer and destined for elbow trouble, just as Strasburg was (who will most likely reinjure his elbow in the future).
    Wheeler is truly free and easy with his motion, with good extension of his lower arm so he should be able to get significant innings in if the Mets let him.
    I’d expect his control to improve if they can get him to be consistent with his release which has been his main problem so far.

    • lufts: I have heard people talking about the fluidity of Wheeler’s delivery, but not so much with Harvey. I wonder if what you say is entirely responsible for Harvey’s problem last year and if he’s destined for further problems. Thanks for you input.-JD

      • Usually things like Harvey’s ligament tear are a combination of a lot of factors, but his motion put maximum strain on the ligament. The velocity he generated came disproportionally from the elbow down. The muscles that control the arm motion from the shoulder, which include the infamous rotator cuff (which is really 4 separate muscles), the late, the iliopsoas, etc, are much larger and able to withstand the strain of the pitching motion.

        Of course, the best situation is for that torque to come as much as possible from the action of the trunk in relation to the hips and legs. There have been many ways that coaches have taught over the years to do that, from the old drop and drive of Rube Walker and the late ’60’s Mets. to the rotation of people like Rick Pederson.

        Of course, there’s also Mike Marshall’s radical delivery which is almost like Tim Lincecum used to pitch.

        Anyway, when you don’t extend at the elbow, it is frequently a harbinger of future problems.

        And it’s a pretty simple equation. The harder you throw, the greater the torque that has to be delivered.

        Harvey had very good lower body action, which is probably why his injury was not a full tear.

        Of course, the fact that the team did not recognize his forearm tightness as the sign of the elbow ligament being frayed, at least, is very concerning.

        • lufts: The leg drive is what helped make Seaver. Harvey does have a violent upper body motion and that helped contribute to his injury. Plus, it didn’t help when he hid the tightness in his forearm. Nobody can predict an injury, but Harvey didn’t help himself and nobody with the Mets would dare tinker with his delivery.-JD