Zack Wheeler

Wheeler’s walks, command and shoulder are a concern

According to a detailed report by Jeff Zimmerman from FanGraphs, the difference between a good and great season for Zack Wheeler will likely come down to whether he reduces his walk rate.

Wheeler’s fastball dipped in velocity as the season progressed, which, when coupled with his lack of command, indicates a potential shoulder injury, according to Zimmerman.

Wheeler missed his final start of 2013 due to shoulder stiffness, Terry Collins told reporters in late September. However, despite Zimmerman’s concern, the stiffness was attributed to fatigue and did not require any further testing.

Michael Baron, Contributor

It’s not uncommon to see young pitchers struggle to find their command in their debut seasons. However, considering Wheeler has a history of these problems does concern me to a degree. He knows it’s a problem – he’s been talking about this challenge since he came to the organization. Those in the organization I’ve talked to about Wheeler have said his ability to repeat a delivery is crucial for him, but – if he can do that – the sky is the limit for him going forward.

Read More: Zack is Wheeling a Couple Concerns (Zimmerman, FanGraphs)




78 comments
cmetsfan
cmetsfan

Just seems like often times young mets pitchers lack an out pitch, or a setup pitch, or enough set up pitches.


Doesn't matter how good your best pitch is if it's not set up well or if it's over used. You see some of these guys labor because their good pitches are getting fouled of due to the hitters being too comfortable. If young mets pitchers don't effectively change eye level, or go inside/outside well with placement, than maybe there's some lacking in the coaching, which could be leading to strain.


We know what it looks like when a hitter betters a pitcher with good adjustment. We know what's happening when a pitcher goes to the well too often because he doesn't have a varied approach, therefor hitters aren't set up well.

dolemite
dolemite

I feel like Zach threw a LOT of pitches in his big league innings.  He may not have thrown many more innings than the year before but I bet the numbers would indicate that he threw more pitches - many of them high stress too with the bases juiced.  That means quite a few innings of more than 20 pitches.

dooley
dooley

I believe a major factor in the Colon acquisition was mentoring (either by example or dialogue) Wheeler to trust your stuff and throw strikes

Izeaac Izenhower
Izeaac Izenhower

How can u chance anything and not have further testing done. After losing Harvey they need to make sure that they take all the steps necessary to ensure a better chance to reduce the probability of long term injuries. They did the same with Beltran. To the point he got his owned medical opinion. They thought he was done and since he has put up good numbers, even stealing some bases. Same thing with Johan. How could you not know that he wasn't going to be ready and the surgery wasn't successful for him to be able to compete. If these pitchers are our future why not have regular check ups and MRI on the pitching arm. They are an investment. Why not treat it like that. Cutting corners in any way possible. That is the Mets way. Terrible.

Rhandy Maag
Rhandy Maag

and in other news, baseballs are, in fact, round. 

MMIAA
MMIAA

this post is an example of why people like Baron and Cerron have no future what is the value of this post and when do they do some analysis of their own. You keep posting other peoples work Ill just go read them.

Kyle Suta
Kyle Suta

If wheeler ever needs tommy John then I won't be watching the mets

Mont5
Mont5

So now Jeff Zimmerman from FanGraphs is a Dr.

KMO82
KMO82

What's the latest on Drew?  Boras and Sandy still playing chicken? lol

nickdrake
nickdrake

why is there a "however" in every post here?

mets4lyfe
mets4lyfe

Every pitcher's shoulder is always a concern, especially one that has had shoulder stiffness.

Mitch Petanick
Mitch Petanick

That was a rotographs article based on fantasy baseball, not a fangraphs article - although it brought up some valid points, it was aimed towards Wheeler's fantasy success not necessarily real life success although many of the things mentioned will make him a better pitcher.

nolrog
nolrog

>>> the stiffness was attributed to fatigue and did not require any further testing.


Yeah, that was completely stupid.  Why not put him thru the MIR machine and know for sure?  Instead, they left it to chance. 

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

Wheeler is obviously an injury risk. I'm sure that's the main reason the Giants were willing to part with him.

Zac Tindall
Zac Tindall

Obviously if his shoulder is hurting his mechanics are a problem

hashburry
hashburry

There is no doubt the Mets are overvaluing their young pitching to try and mollify and angry fan base.

hankypanky
hankypanky

All I've heard about Wheeler is that he has a scary torque when throwing.  Doesn't portend well for the future.

MMIAA
MMIAA

of course he probably has shoulder problems limiting pitches in the minors is going to continue to do this. when will they learn.

Gland1
Gland1

He threw a little more than 1700 pitches in his 100 innings.

dooley
dooley

I have been wondering why MRI's are not done as frequently as well. Seems like ticket sales is the most likely reason

The Feels band
The Feels band

@MMIAA God. Then I'd hate to know what this post of yours is an example of. Ouch. 

MMIAA
MMIAA

@isles rule yes in todays world it is possible for a twenty something year old who works every 5 days to get tired....................RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

MMIAA
MMIAA

@nickdrake its so they can cover every corner without ever saying anything welcome to the youth of America everyone gets a trophy and nobody is allowed to have an opinion and somehow they think that's a better way

md92468
md92468

@nickdrake So they don't have to say "that said" in every post here. 

dooley
dooley

Yup, and his command

stemog
stemog

@Marcus Jensen They dealt him because they were going for a World Series title and wanted an impact hitter in Beltran. Wheeler was in what, Double-A, when the Mets got him. Where is the "obvious injury risk" coming from? He's never missed a large amount of time. All pitchers miss starts here and there.

MMIAA
MMIAA

@hashburry agreed I want to know how 3 pitchers make an entire farm system

Gland1
Gland1

@hankypanky I heard that Matt Harvey had a perfect delivery which should protect him against injury.  Oh wait....

hlow24
hlow24

@hankypanky all you've heard?  why not actually watch a game for yourself instead of just "hearing" something about it 

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@hankypanky There's been plenty of guys with "scary torque" that have never had issues, and there's been plenty of guys with near-effortless mechanics that have needed major surgery.


Sometimes shiit just happens.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@MMIAA  Tom Seaver has been pretty outspoken about this too:

“Take a look at all of them, Marichal, Jenkins, Spahn, what do you think made them successful?” Seaver asked. “They conditioned their arms by pitching more, not less, starting from when they signed their first contract. Jenkins threw 300 or more innings half a dozen (actually five) times. Same with Palmer, Carlton and Marichal. I keep going back to that (July 2, 1963) Marichal-Spahn game when they both pitched 16 innings and threw almost 500 pitches between them.

“Neither one of them had any adverse aftereffects from it.”

Marcus Jensen
Marcus Jensen

@stemog @Marcus Jensen Same way Strasburg was an injury risk, and did get injured. He's a power pitcher with an ectomorphic frame. Those pitchers place a lot of stress on the arm due to the torque and angles of the mechanics.

And at 185 pounds, he's not as strong as say a Jered Weaver, who has a similar frame. Or a Kershaw, who is 220.

dooley
dooley

It's no guarantee but a smooth delivery does help prevent injury. Harvey seems more like an outlier since his velocity also increased as the game went on

hlow24
hlow24

@Robby Johnson @MMIAA of course Seaver mentions himself and 3 other ALL TIME GREAT pitchers.  What about all the other guys who languished and didn't pitch that much and got injured?  It's ridiculous to make a point about pitch counts when all you do is mention all time great pitchers 

md92468
md92468

@Robby Johnson @MMIAA To be fair, though, there are several mitigating factors at play here: first, kids weren't on innings limits the way they are now all the way down to Babe Ruth League...I've coached several teams where players weren't even allowed to pitch in consecutive games spaced 3 days apart (in the early 80s we used to pitch every day if our arms were up to it). Second, if you lost a guy for the season in the 60s/70s, it set an owner back about $50K in salary and a little more than that in indirect economic impact. Now it might cost an owner $15-20 million or more. It's also a huge risks for players since there will always be the "what if it happens again" tag alongside their name. The bottom line is it's a huge difference in risk for both the owner and the player compared to back then. Third, the guys you (and Seaver) mentioned above were the best of the best - immortals who did what other people couldn't do, including throw more innings effectively. Last, they didn't have the weight training regimens guys have today, which seem to wreak havoc on tendons and ligaments...


It would be great if you could turn back the clock and eliminate all the circumstances that lead to innings limits, but it's not happening any time soon....

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@hayden No need to yell bud.  I tend to agree with his philosophy though.  I was fortunate to be in the starting rotation and start in the field during my first 2 years of college.  My arm never felt better than it did during those years.


Unfortunately my coaches saw me as the "ace" my junior year and asked me to focus on just pitching.  I struggled the entire season because my shoulder felt incredibly tight at all times.  It would take me nearly 4 innings on a hot day before I could really shove it.
They let me play the field and pitch again my senior year - absolutely no issues with any part of my arm.  Just my personal experience, but I'll always be in favor of throwing more rather than less.

MMIAA
MMIAA

@md92468 @Robby Johnson @MMIAA would you have been happy if we quoted someone who pitched for one year in the majors??? Ask Darling what he thinks he thinks its all BS too he said to get to the pros when he was in the minors you had to get to 140 pitches a game and 180 innings for the year. what we have now is no leadership in AMerica because of all the tools on TV and stupid stats.

Robby Johnson
Robby Johnson

@md92468 I agree with everything you've pointed out.

One of our conference rivals in high school had a kid my age who was pumping 90+ by his freshman year.  I got to know him pretty well - and one thing that stuck out was how much he loved to throw, throw, throw.  He said his arm would not recover properly between starts if he didn't immediately long toss or do some type of throwing the very next day.

By the time our senior year hit, scouts were all over him and agents began telling his coaches to get him on a stricter resting regiment with much less throwing.  His coach actually resigned following that year because these scouts and agents convinced his parents not to let him pitch a single inning in the State Title game that season - which they lost.


His name is Jason Knapp - he was taken 70th overall by the Phillies in '08.  He was the centerpiece prospect when they traded for Cliff Lee in '09.


Since then he's had 3 arm/shoulder surgeries that I've heard about and hasn't pitched professionally in years.  Kid never had arm problems until people started screwing with his routine and conditioning.