Michael Baron, Contributor
Today feels like a new chapter for the Mets, with Zack Wheeler making his big league debut tonight.
I met Wheeler almost immediately after the team acquired him, and what impressed me the most was how he had an understanding about his own strengths and weaknesses, and what he needed to work on mechanically to take the next steps and move up within the organization.
There’s been a lot of talk about how his personality compares to Matt Harvey; and, while they do in fact contrast, not a single person I’ve talked to over the last year is the least bit concerned about it.
Who is like Matt Harvey, especially among the younger group of pitchers in this league? Harvey is a rare breed, and it’s nice to have him on our side, but this should take nothing away from what Wheeler is capable of doing at the big-league level.
“I can’t wait to see Wheeler,’’ Marlon Byrd told the New York Post. “Having Harvey and Wheeler back-to-back now, I’m excited.”
I feel the same way. I haven’t been this excited to watch Mets baseball in a long time; and it comes at a good time. The Mets need us to be excited and interested again… badly.
“This gives you a pretty good look at what 40 percent of the staff is going to look like,” David Wright explained to the Post. “I’m excited to see Wheeler throw, and hopefully he can learn from what Matt has been through and kind of buddy up next to him in both work ethic and preparation.’’
Wright brings up a good point. Yes, Wheeler has the stuff to be just as exciting as Harvey, if not more. But, it’s unfair to expect Wheeler to come up, pitch Cy Young-caliber baseball, and save the 2013 Mets…
“It’s not gonna happen in one game,” Tom Seaver told Steve Serby of the New York Post. “And you shouldn’t think, ‘Here I am for the next 20 years,’ either. It might be a month, or two months, before you really understand who you are and if you can or cannot do this. This is a continual learning curve.”
Wheeler will take his lumps. Part of the fun of this process will be watching these players grow and mature from moment to moment.
Wheeler’s arrival is the dawn of a new day; and it is remarkable that a guy, who has never thrown a single pitch in the big leagues, can generate so much buzz. It speaks to a fan base, and players, who are still willing to believe.
Happy Harvey Day… and Happy Wheeler Day… everyone…