"The LTJ Editorial"
Author: Luis Tirado Jr.
"Could a ‘Zack Attack’ be on the horizon?"
Back around late July, lots of diehard NY Mets fans were somewhat bittersweet after hearing the Mets were trading Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants. Some feel he was a tremendous asset to the team while others saw injury plagued seasons and not much impact towards the end. Say what you want about Beltran, he was mostly successful in his tenure here, even though in that infamous ‘06 game everything ended on a strike. Regardless, that trade may have very well shaped up a brighter future for our Mets.
Zack Wheeler, the 6’4 top pitching prospect for the past couple of years, finally debuted in Spring Training a few days ago. Throwing for six straight outs in two scoreless innings, he left much to the anticipation if he is indeed our next big thing. After personally watching the highlights, I was very impressed. Granted, it’s Spring Training, his first appearance, excitement is in the air and maybe I’m getting ahead of myself. However, it may be the start of something special. Honestly, can you blame me? Lately we start off decent, pick up some momentum, then for some bizarre reason after the MLB All-Star Weekend, everything starts getting weird. People get injured, we lose close games, get some random blowouts and we’re out of the Playoffs race with games left that won’t mean anything really since it’s all over. Perhaps what this organization needs is indeed a "Zack Attack". Someone who is going to be a force to reckon with that will make people across the league start to see we’re really just a few pieces away from something special. This time around, hopefully it starts with our pitcher.
With his zip-line fastballs, curveball, slider, and change-up pitches in his arsenal, maybe he’ll be that big piece we need to really start separating ourselves from our past and progress to a more positive future. Every season I always look forward to some new memories, some victories, and usually heartache. It’s taken a few years, but Terry Collins has started to see what is possible. Through him so far, we’ve become more respectable, even I see and feel the difference. He’s brought in new players, developed what we have, and started to make strides into building a solid foundation. Look at how impressive P Matt Harvey was last year, mainly because it was done right. Collins didn’t rush Harvey to the mound, he waited until it was the right time and unleashed him to the masses. Look at him now, a starter in our pitching rotation and already making a name for himself.
Could a "Zack Attack" come sooner than we think? Unfortunately, P Johan Santana has some shoulder fatigue issues that has concerned the Mets. For the most part, he should be fine to open the season come April but you never know. Hopefully Santana is healthy to start, otherwise, I see them giving Marcum that opportunity. In that scenario, Wheeler would most likely get a spot in that rotation. Some say it would be great to have him in there to start but I severely disagree. When I saw Wheeler debut a few days ago in Spring Training, I was impressed but it is way……. way too soon to bring him up. I’d rather him get as much experience as possible because in that start he had, he seemed a bit overanxious to throw pitches. It wasn’t until he was spoken to and calmed down that he was focused and let the nervousness go away after each strike.
In a perfect world, he’ll be called up when it’s the right time and not anytime sooner. I will say though, I’m extremely excited for what Wheeler will eventually bring to our beloved Mets. He seems like he is that injection of pure young talent at our starting rotation that would be tremendous to have. Someone who will bring some natural positive energy not just to our rotation but to our team. We’ll see how this all pans out but one day, just one day maybe, we might see some "Zack Attacks" in the month of October…….