Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler
28-Year-Old PitcherSP
New York Mets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Wheeler logged 17 erratic starts in 2017, but that was an achievement, considering he was working his way back after two lost seasons due to Tommy John surgery and a subsequent flexor pronator issue. As is the case with many TJS patients, Wheeler’s control didn't return until the second post-surgery season, and his velocity followed suit during his brilliant 2018. The former top prospect cut his HR/9 by more than half, maintained his almost-great K/9 and led starting pitchers (min. 500 batted-ball events) with an 84.7 average exit velocity. The Mets wisely shut him down in September to limit his innings during a meaningless season after he dazzled with a 1.8 BB/9 and 1.68 ERA in the second half. At just 28 years old, Wheeler has the potential to take another step forward in 2019. Don’t bank on more starts, but Wheeler's skills are close to ace-level, and the best part is you don't have to pay an ace price. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a one-year, $5.98 million contract with the Mets in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Stretched out and ready for season
PNew York Mets
March 21, 2019
Wheeler threw 91 pitches in a minor-league game Wednesday, Anthony DiComo of reports.
Predictably, the results were outstanding as the right-hander tossed seven scoreless innings while striking out six, but the important takeaway is that Wheeler is ready for the regular season. He's set to make his first start of the campaign on the road against the Nationals on March 31.
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Pitching Stats
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Minor League Game Log
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
No Stats
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .250 530 132 52 116 16 2 17
Since 2016vs Right .240 600 128 43 131 19 0 12
2018vs Left .238 361 90 34 75 12 1 8
2018vs Right .212 383 89 21 75 8 0 6
2017vs Left .275 169 42 18 41 4 1 9
2017vs Right .290 217 39 22 56 11 0 6
2016vs Left 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016vs Right 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
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Since 2016Home 4.06 1.33 146.1 7 10 0 8.7 3.4 1.0
Since 2016Away 3.75 1.20 122.1 8 4 0 8.7 2.9 1.0
2018Home 3.14 1.18 97.1 5 5 0 8.5 2.5 0.6
2018Away 3.49 1.06 85.0 7 2 0 9.2 3.0 0.7
2017Home 5.88 1.63 49.0 2 5 0 9.2 5.1 1.7
2017Away 4.34 1.53 37.1 1 2 0 7.5 2.9 1.4
2016Home 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016Away 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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Stat Review
How does Zack Wheeler compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
95.9 mph
Strand %
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After missing two entire seasons rehabbing from Tommy John surgery followed by a flexor strain issue, Wheeler's prognosis in 2017 was anyone's guess. After topping out at 97 mph in the spring, Wheeler broke camp as the fourth starter, starting 13 games before being sidelined with biceps tendinitis. Wheeler returned for four more outings before he was shelved again, this time with a stress reaction in his throwing arm. After setbacks in his recovery, Wheeler was shut down for good with an eye toward returning at 100 percent in 2018. For the season, Wheeler was expectedly inconsistent, especially with control. He was also victimized by the long ball, serving up 15 homers in only 86.1 stanzas. Wheeler is expected to be ready to go for spring training, where he'll again look to impress and earn a spot in the Mets' rotation. He continues to have mid-rotation upside, but remains a health and performance risk.
Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2015, with an anticipated return to the majors around July of the 2016 campaign. In early June, that target was moved to after the All-Star break as the one-time, top prospect was slow to work breaking pitches into his recovery. In late June, Wheeler experienced soreness in his throwing elbow which turned out to be sensory nerve irritation, treatable with a cortisone injection. The right-hander continued his rehab, finally throwing in a game for High-A St. Lucie on August 6, tossing 17 pitches with excellent velocity. However, Wheeler felt more elbow soreness and was diagnosed with a mild flexor strain. This nixed Wheeler's return in 2016 and shut him down completely until pitchers and catchers report to spring training in February. His progress is worth monitoring in the spring, but for now, Wheeler is a reserve-round flier at best.
Concerns regarding the health of Wheeler's pitching elbow began to surface late in 2014 (among Mets officials, not publicly), but doctors initially diagnosed the right-hander with tendinitis, and Wheeler himself later said that he never considered skipping a start. However, after more tenderness in spring training, Wheeler was sent for an MRI, which revealed a completely torn ulnar collateral ligament. Tommy John surgery followed, and due to the extensive damage to the ligament, Wheeler was not cleared to resume throwing on flat ground until almost six months later. He appeared on the verge of a breakout before the injury, having struck out a batter per inning with improved groundball and walk rates over 185.1 frames in 2014. We likely won't get a glimpse at Wheeler until June, making him a risky target in single-season leagues. If Wheeler comes back and continues to flash plus stuff with mid-90s heat, he could be a difference maker down the stretch, but that is what FAAB dollars are for.
Wheeler was once considered a brighter prospect than Matt Harvey. It wasn’t an unreasonable position by any stretch. Inconsistency plagued Wheeler's first half of 2014. Just look at this 10-start run that began in early-May: 0, 5, 5, 2, 1, 0, 4, 4, 0, 6, and 1 earned run in 63 innings with 62 strikeouts, but just a 2.2 K:BB ratio. He found the missing consistency in the second half, allowing more than three earned just once in 15 starts from July through September. He wound up with a 2.80 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 90 innings while boosting his K:BB ratio a more palatable 2.5 mark. The biggest issue right now is the walk rate. He can’t live at 10 percent and still be a frontline option, but this is the kind of profile that you bet on. Unfortunately, a potential breakout will have to wait at least one more year, as Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn UCL in March and will miss the entire 2015 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.
The Mets followed a similar approach with Wheeler as they did with Matt Harvey by having him come to camp with the team, start the year in the minors, and then promoting him during the summer. In Wheeler's case, he was called up in mid-June and quickly showed he belonged. Wheeler got better as the year wore on, and his challenge for the future is to improve his control, as walks, which have been an issue in the past, prevented him from going deep into games at times and resulted in too many baserunners. He was shut down before his last start with shoulder stiffness, and with Matt Harvey out at the time due to an elbow injury, the Mets opted to be cautious with the young stud. Wheeler, who mixes a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph with a nasty mid-70s curveball and work-in-progress changeup, should open 2014 as the Mets' No. 2 or No.3 starter.
Wheeler handled his promotion to Double-A well enough to get a taste of Buffalo at the end of the season, although his walk rate (4.4 BB/9) increased during his six-start run after the bump. The Mets have indicated plans to send him back to Triple-A for the start of 2013, following a similar development plan as Matt Harvey and making him a part of their rotation during the middle of the season. When opposing hitters make contact, they rarely hit Wheeler hard, as evidenced by an .078 ISO against last season. If he can take the necessary steps to improve his control, there is reason to believe that he can still develop into a frontline starter.
Wheeler immediately became the Mets' top prospect after he was acquired from San Francisco for Carlos Beltran in July. The sixth overall pick in 2009, Wheeler spent all of 2011 in High-A, tearing through San Jose and St. Lucie. He mixes a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph with a mid-70s nasty curveball and work-in-progress change-up that made some strides last year. Wheeler is also working on a cut-fastball, and if he can refine either the change or cutter, it would push him to possible ace status. Wheeler will likely spend all of 2012 between Double- and Triple-A before making his arrival at Citi Field in 2013.
Wheeler, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft, battled some wildness during his first year in professional baseball last season, posting a 5.9 BB/9IP ratio. However, he also recorded an impressive 10.8 K/9IP ratio as a 20-year-old in Double-A, revealing plenty of long-term upside. Wheeler also flashed a strong groundball rate and didn't allow a single home run over 58.2 innings. He's still a couple of years from contributing at the big league level, but he has the potential to be a future No. 1 starter.
San Francisco selected Wheeler in the first round of the 2009 draft, sixth overall, out of high school in Georgia. The right-hander has a plus fastball that reaches the low-to-mid 90s and a power curve. Look for the Giants to improve upon his almost non-existent changeup, as Wheeler opens 2010 in Low-A as already one of the team’s better prospects.
More Fantasy News
Posts another strong outing
PNew York Mets
March 14, 2019
Wheeler allowed two hits and struck out four in 5.1 scoreless innings Thursday against St. Louis.
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Fires four scoreless innings
PNew York Mets
March 9, 2019
Wheeler allowed one hit and zero walks while recording three strikeouts across four scoreless innings during Saturday's spring win over the Red Sox.
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Detects mechanical issue
PNew York Mets
February 27, 2019
Wheeler identified a mechanical issue after reviewing video Tuesday following his Grapefruit League debut against the Tigers, Anthony DiComo of reports. "My body felt fine, arm felt fine," Wheeler said. "I'm just a little mechanically off. I'll get that cleaned up and just go from there."
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Earns big raise
PNew York Mets
January 11, 2019
Wheeler and the Mets avoided arbitration with a one-year, $5.975 contract Friday, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.
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Shut down for rest of season
PNew York Mets
September 19, 2018
Manager Mickey Callaway said Wednesday that Wheeler will be shut down for the rest of the 2018 campaign due to an innings restriction, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports.
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