New York Mets: 5 reasons for optimism – Part 2 Starting Pitching

Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, New York Mets. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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New York Mets
Zack Wheeler, New York Mets. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Zack Wheeler

It feels like Zack Wheeler has been around forever, but he’s only 28 years old. If anyone forgot, he was acquired from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran at the 2011 trade deadline. At the same time, Wheeler is almost the forgotten man on the starting staff. Any hitters who underestimate him will pay a heavy price.

He was very reliable in 2018, throwing the second highest amount of innings (182.1) on the team. His WHIP was also second best at 1.124. Wheeler doesn’t allow many base runners. He is also very economical with his pitch counts. While not reaching deGrom levels, Wheeler was 12th in the National League with an average of 15.8 pitches per inning, and 18th in pitches per plate appearance with 3.88.

It means he also has lots of innings left in his right arm. He didn’t pitch in the majors at all in both 2015 and 2016. Additionally, he threw just 86.1 in 2017. Wheeler’s injury-plagued history is behind him and he has been improving the last two seasons. Another step up in 2019 will put him among the league’s best starters.

Wheeler is another New York Mets pitcher with a very live arm. The Georgia native throws a 97 mph fastball but offsets it with a hard slider (91mph). He can also get outs with both his curveball and splitter.

If Wheeler puts it together all year, he has the stuff to contend for post-season hardware.