To the chagrin of Giants fans, the Mets Zack Wheeler makes his debut
Before the 2011 trade deadline, the Giants were holding on to first place and looking to win back-to-back World Series. Despite losing Buster Posey for the year, the G-men were doing well but needed help producing runs.
The pitching staff was its usual dominant self so the deal made plenty of sense at the time. The Giants shipped their top pitching prospect, fireballer Zack Wheeler, to New York for Carlos Beltran, who was supposed to fill the void left by Posey's gruesome injury.
Beltran battled injuries during his time in San Francisco but produced when he was able to make it out onto the field. Unfortunately it was too little, too late for a Giants team that was battling through other significant injuries. Then Beltran was not retained after the Giants missed the playoffs, pouring salt in the Zack Wheeler wound.
These days, the Giants are struggling to find consistency from their vaunted starting rotation while Mets fans are getting excited about the possibilities that a Matt Harvey-Zach Wheeler one-two punch present.
The 6'4" right hander was the #11 prospect according to Baseball America heading into 2013, four years after the Giants selected him sixth in the 2009 draft. Wheeler can throw in the mid 90's, occasionally touching the upper 90's, and can capably throw a curveball, slider, and changeup.
His numbers in the minors haven't been mind blowing but his potential and the fact that he has four MLB-ready pitches have whetted the appetites of baseball geeks and fantasy baseball aficionados. After making the jump to the Las Vegas 51's of the Pacific Coast League, it took Wheeler some time to adjust. He didn't record a win until his sixth start but he was still striking guys out in the early part of the season.
He's settled in and has given up just one run in two of his last three starts, striking out a combined 20 batters in his last three outings. For the season, Wheeler is 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA and has struck out 73 batters in 68.2 innings. It is unlikely that he'll come up and dominate immediately like Matt Harvey has, but given time to adjust to big league hitting, Wheeler should be able to do what he's always done--strike guys out.
The Mets will travel to San Francisco for a three-game series in the second week of July and Giants fans will have a chance to glimpse what could have been if Posey had never gotten hurt all the way back in the spring of 2011.