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.
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 Just because something has been a staple for a century-plus does not make it outdated or obsolete.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.
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