He has been that golden nugget of potential Mets fans have been waiting for.
Long before anyone realized the elite pitcher Matt Harvey was going to be, Zack Wheeler was the golden boy of the Mets minor league system.
And he is coming to Queens very, very soon.
The crown jewel of what many thought was a heist by New York’s GM, Sandy Alderson, the Mets received the San Francisco Giants’ #1 pitching prospect for the expiring contract of Carlos Beltran.
Since then, those around Flushing have been waiting for when he would arrive in the majors.
That time is arriving now.
Wheeler will be making what many believe is to be his final minor league start tonight for the Las Vegas 51s, the Mets AAA affiliate.
He has had a rocky time in the PCL, long known as a hitter’s league. His 3.86 ERA and 1.30 WHIP hardly scream domination, but the numbers do not do the skill-set justice. A strikeout pitcher, he is averaging a K per inning, even in that league. While at home his ERA is 5.88, on the road, it’s 2.23. And when still in Buffalo last year, he was successful in his short time in AAA.
So the Mets have known he would be up for a while, we have just been playing the waiting game.
The biggest obstacle to him being with the main roster has been a potential issue with Super-2 Arbitration, a date in June which determines when the contract clock will begin for any potential minor league star.
The Mets, still rebuilding, hope to keep Wheeler from arbitration and his first free agent-type deal for as long as possible. With the date up in the air, they know a mid-June call up was the only possibility.
And now there looks to be a date: June 14-16, a series with the Cubs.
The Mets will need a starter and they hope to avoid having Wheeler make his first career start in front of his hometown of Atlanta vs. the Braves the following week. So we know when he will be here. The Mets prudence will save them money going forward, and they will now pay off the long-awaited tease.
Finally, the Mets fans will get what they are waiting for. Will we be seeing Ace 1-A at CitiField? The Clock has started on the Wheeler Watch.
The Zack Wheeler watch took a bit longer than most expected, but the day is here.
After accumulating a season record of 4-2 with a 3.93 ERA at AAA Las Vegas, he will be arriving on the back end of a double header vs. the Braves tonight in Atlanta.
In Game 1 will be Matt Harvey starting – creating a double header of the future for the Mets.
The future, though, is here now.