One of the National League’s most discussed trade assets can impress one of his biggest suitors on Tuesday night.
Nine games under the .500 mark and 12 games back in the NL East, all indications are the New York Mets will be sellers prior to the July 31 trade deadline.
An underachieving club, New York has a few assets that could be attractive to contending teams. Lefty Jason Vargas has pitched to a 3.66 ERA in 66.1 innings, and Todd Frazier is posting a slash line above his career averages.
However, their most sought-after piece is Zack Wheeler. Looking at his recent trends, it’s easy to see why he is in high demand.
Plagued by injuries early in his career, Wheeler seems to have shaken the injury bug. He made 29 starts in 2018 and Tuesday will be his 18th start of the 2019 season. His 107.7 innings pitched are sixth-most in the NL.
While Wheeler’s 4.51 ERA doesn’t jump off the page, his peripherals are very encouraging. He is posting a career-low walk rate and a career-high strikeout rate.
In his last two starts, the Georgia native has pitched 13 innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits. He has struck out 12 batters in this span, compared to just three walks.
The fact that Wheeler will be a free agent at the end of the season makes him even more appealing to a prospective buyer. Due to him being a rental, contenders know they won’t have to part with a top prospect to acquire him.
Teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros have shown some interest in the 29-year-old, but the New York Yankees have been one of the teams keeping close tabs on the right-hander.
The Mets have been hesitant to deal with their crosstown rival in the past, but the Yankees have the ammunition to make it happen.
On Tuesday, they’ll get the chance to scout him again. This time, without even having to hit the road.
The first of a two-game Subway Series, Tuesday’s game will begin at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Wheeler will be opposed by lefty James Paxton (5-3, 4.34 ERA).
Brett Baty promoted to rookie-level Kingsport
Their first-round pick in the 2019 draft, the Mets have promoted third baseman Brett Baty to rookie-level Kingsport.
In five games with the Gulf Coast League Mets, Baty slashed .350/.480/.650 with a home run and eight RBIs.
Justin Wilson resumes rehab assignment
Lefty Justin Wilson (elbow) resumed his rehab assignment with short-season Brooklyn on Saturday.
He was able to work a scoreless frame, recording two strikeouts in the process. This was the first appearance for the lefty since being pulled off his rehab assignment on June 15.