Now that the 2017 season is over for the New York Mets, we have been looking back at the year that was. After taking a more general view of the offense, pitching, and coaching staff, it’s time to take a look back at the Mets’ players. This series will take a look at every player on the active roster for the Mets at the end of season from A (Nori Aoki) to W (David Wright). The review will look at their season statistics, stories, and what role (if any) they will have next season. We continue our series today with a look at starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Player Review: Zack Wheeler
Stats: 17 Starts, 86.1 Innings Pitched, 3-7 Won-Loss Record, 5.21 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 81:40 Strikeout:Walk Ratio
Story: After missing two full seasons due to Tommy John surgery, Zack Wheeler finally got healthy enough to rejoin the Mets’ rotation. Injuries to Steven Matz and Seth Lugo created a spot in the Opening Day rotation for Wheeler, who struggled to shake off the rust early in the season. Wheeler settled into a nice groove by early June, carrying a 3-3 record with a 3.45 ERA into a June 13th start against the Chicago Cubs. That start was a disaster, as Wheeler gave up eight runs in 1.2 innings of work. Wheeler was hit hard again in his next start, giving up seven runs in two innings at Dodger Stadium. The Mets placed him on the disabled list after that game with elbow fatigue, and Wheeler missed the minimum ten days before returning from the disabled list. Wheeler made four more mostly ineffective starts before being shut down again with a stress reaction in his pitching arm. After prescribing him a period of rest, the Mets opted to shut Wheeler down for the year in August with their season essentially over already.
Wheeler showed flashes of brilliance, particularly in May, but injury issues ruined his season again. At this point, its fair to wonder whether or not Wheeler would be better served as a reliever to try and keep him healthier.
Contract Status: Arbitration Eligible (Second Time)
Odds of Returning: 99%
2018 Role: Fifth Starter
There is a small chance the Mets shop Wheeler, but in all likelihood he will be back in 2018. At that point, new manager Mickey Callaway and pitching coach Dave Eiland will need to figure out how best to utilize Wheeler in 2018. Wheeler will likely enter camp competing for a spot in the starting rotation, but the Mets may want to think about converting him into a reliever. Given the Mets’ shortages in the bullpen and Wheeler’s health problems, a bullpen role could help keep Wheeler healthier going forward.
Check back tomorrow as our Player Review Series concludes with a look at third baseman David Wright!