5. Zack Wheeler, RHP, 25-Years Old
Last but not least comes Zack Wheeler.
It’s unfortunate that this guy – who was acquired in the Carlos Beltran deal with the San Francisco Giants in 2011 – will be the No. 5 guy on this list purely due to that pesky Tommy John surgery.
Nevertheless, he will return just as the ace of the staff did.
Believe it or not, Wheeler has the most MLB experience of any of these guys. His 49 career MLB starts edges Harvey’s 48 by just one. Still, he just hasn’t been able to fully put it together yet.
This is not to say he’s been bad. He hasn’t. But when comparing to such talented arms like Harvey and deGrom, Wheeler will have some catching up to do when he returns at some point during 2016.
During a full season in 2014, Wheeler sported an 11-11 record, 3.54 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 185.1 innings pitched.
Aside from noticing the trend that all of these guys are a strikeout per inning, Wheeler’s young career ERA has been stuck in the mid-3s (2013: 3.42 ERA).
His pitch repertoire is similar to Syndergaard’s. Another four-seam guy, he hits 96 on the gun. He also sports a sinker that produces a ton of ground-balls, a curve in the low 80s and a change around 88.
The difference is his fifth-pitch, his slider which is thrown very hard compared to other pitchers in the game.
Expect Wheeler to be that fifth and final piece to make this “Phenom-Five” whole for the first time ever around a calendar year from now.
Target early June of 2015 for the inception of the New York Mets “Phenom-Five” in its entirety.