Just in time for the New Year, Mets 101's Seven in Seven series returns as our gift to you. Each week, the Mets 101 staff will begin a countdown of topics related to the New York Mets (i.e. best third baseman, worst defeat, etc.). We will begin our countdowns with number seven and work all the way to number one. This week will mark our final Seven in Seven series of the winter, and we will take a look at the seven best prospects in the Mets farm system. We will continue our countdown with the second best prospect and top pitching prospect in the Met farm system, starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
2. SP Zach Wheeler
Acquired: Via Trade from San Francisco Giants for Outfielder Carlos Beltran on July 28, 2011.
History: In a heated NL West race the San Francisco Giants were looking to acquire a talent that could help the team hold on to their three game lead over a surging Arizona Diamondbacks team. While their arms weren't the issue, the same could not be said about their hitting. Earlier in the season, their young and bright catcher Buster Posey was knocked out for the season due to a controversial collision at the plate with Scott Cousins. Posey wasn't just an anchor when it came to calling and catching games for the Giants but also a vital part of their offense. It would be due to this scenario that the team would agree to part ways with their number one pitching prospect Zack Wheeler, dealing him to the Mets in exchange for outfielder Carlos Beltran.
Prior to coming to the Mets, Wheeler was drafted by the Giants in 2009, sixth overall in the first round from East Paulding High school in Dallas, Georgia. Wheeler quickly rose through the Mets' system last season, debuting at AA Binghamton and eventually progressing to Triple-A Buffalo to end the campaign. Wheeler looks to be a future ace for the Mets', while Carlos Beltran ended up leaving the San Francisco Giants after one season. This could be a steal for the Mets and a defining deal for GM Sandy Alderson if Wheeler turns into a stud.
Pros: Fastball that tops out mid to high 90's, two-seam fastball with great movement, a curveball that could hit in the mid to high 70's, change up that hits in the mid to high 80's, and slider which tops in the 90's.
Cons: Needs to finish polishing secondary pitches such as his change up which could use a just a little bit more movement
Major League ETA: Mid Spring to Early Summer 2013
Since his landing in the Mets system, the hype in the air about Wheeler has been on full throttle. Wheeler became the team's top prospect upon his arrival, and fans have excitedly watched his progress through the minors. Wheeler made his spring training debut with the Mets last Saturday, in which he pitched two impressive scoreless innings. Let's hope all this hype and today's performance is a sign of things to come.
There is no doubt in my mind that if Wheeler is right in terms of health and is major league ready that he will not only perform but he will be almost or as good as the past few prospects we've seen develop into stars and anchors for their major league ball clubs. With R.A. Dickey gone and Johan Santana's true status still uncertain, the Mets need Wheeler to produce. While most Met fans are always discussing the future in terms of it's teams and players, maybe the future is a lot closer than we all think.
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