Monday, August 6, 2012

Scouting Report on Zack Wheeler

Zack Wheeler made his AAA debut on Monday August 6th (2012). Wheeler was traded straight up for Carlos Beltran by the San Francisco Giants to the New York Mets at the trade deadline in 2011.

The first thing you notice is the fastball. Wheeler began the game with 95 MPH fastballs. He can also throw it that velocity with sink. He sat at 94-96 MPH most of the time. It has good life but up in the zone it is more straight (which is normal). He threw most of them up and surprisingly had some problems blowing it by hitters. He gave up lots of fouls early. He can take a little off it at 93 MPH, an got whiffs that way. It has a little bit more movement at this speed and stays outside to lefties (it seemed that he threw it mainly to lefties).

He also has a 87-88 MPH (touched 89 but didn't have good movement then) offspeed pitch with late movement down. It looks like a low strike then darts down into the dart when it is good. This will get more swings and misses than his fastball, especially the high fastballs. He can also throw it for strikes, on the low outside corner to righties. It is hard to hit it hard when it is placed there.

Wheeler really had to throw a lot of pitches in the first and was throwing a ton of fastballs to start the game. His first curveball (at 81 MPH) ended the first inning when he buried it in the dirt for a swinging strikeout. His curveball is sharp instead of loopy sits at 79 MPH. It is probably the pitch he controlled the least, although it can be a put away pitch when he commands it.

Overall, it is stuff that should get him plenty of grounders if not plenty of strikeouts. He really has 3 plus pitches with solid command/control. He walked a batter in each of the first 2 innings and lost his command in the 2nd for a little while. He ended up walking Mark Teahan twice an his control really faded towards the end of his outing. With that said, he wasn't wild at all, he just missed the plate (as in barely missed) with his fastball a lot. 

They will probably want him to make a few AAA starts (and he should), but he looks pretty close to the big leagues in my opinion. The Mets are going to shut down Wheeler pretty soon, so it is unlikely we will see him in the Majors this year. In 2013, he should be a pitcher to watch.

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