Collins: Wheeler is not the same as Harvey, but he’s still ‘very, very, very good’

Zack Wheeler 3 polaroidZack Wheeler allowed just one run in his seven innings last night, despite taking a loss.

He gave up solo home run to Ryan Zimmerman, who clubbed a hanging curveball.

Wheeler is 7-5 with a 3.22 ERA, including 81 strike outs in 95 innings, during his 16 starts for the Mets this season.

“He believes in himself and demands a lot of himself,” Terry Collins explained to reporters last night. “Then he started this year, he was destined to show people he was real good. And he has. I think that next spring, when he walks into spring training, you’ll see a little different character. I think he now knows he’s a major league pitcher. I don’t think he has to go out and prove anything. He knows he can get outs. He knows his stuff’s good enough. He knows his command’s good enough. He’s not the same pitcher that Matt Harvey is, but he’s still very, very, very good.”

Since August 10, Wheeler has a 2.44 ERA with 12 walks and 40 strikeouts in seven starts over 44 1/3 innings.

Michael Baron, Contributor

Wheeler has made no secret of his struggles to command his fastball over the years. While he had a hiccup with his command in his start against the Indians, he has shown improved command since August. It’s helped him stay efficient and throw quality strikes, but it’s also enabled him to use his wicked breaking pitches and miss more bats as a result. He’s also been keeping the ball consistently down in the strikezone, and has induced more than two times the number of groundballs than flyballs since August 10.

The sky has always been the limit for the Wheeler and is already opening eyes around the league. In getting to know him since he arrived in the organization, he has grown professionally and developed an understanding of how to pitch, versus simply throwing 95 miles per hour. He gets unfairly knocked for not being outgoing, but I think he’s gotten a lot more comfortable and is certainly more outgoing in the clubhouse than he was during Spring Training. I assume that’s because he’s begun to realize that he belongs and has earned his place on the team, and doesn’t have to worry about how to make the club or get promoted.

As was the case with Matt Harvey last year, this is all part of the process for Wheeler this year, which is why it’s important he get to the end of the year.I think that has become evident with his growth this season, as he seems to have a plan and knows how to execute it at this point. That’s an important stepping stone as he gains more experience, and takes his craft to the next level in the coming year. It’s going to be fun to watch him next season…