The Mets harness an assortment of young pitching talent, a strength the team would be wise to convert into offensive help. Such a surplus leads to those pitchers being talked about in trade discussions, but mentioning Zack Wheeler as a trade chip looks to be a waste of breath.
After overcoming erratic command and eleven baserunners to allow just one run against the Nationals last night, the 24-year-old hurler has surrendered just eight earned runs through his last seven starts. His recent hot streak has him at a 3.48 ERA on the season, and it has apparently convinced the team about his immense value moving forward. Wheeler now is significantly closer to joining Matt Harvey on New York’s "not for sale" list. Per the New York Daily News’ John Harper:
"And so while it seems inevitable - and necessary - that GM Sandy Alderson will trade from his surplus of young arms for offense, the sense you get from within the organization now is that Wheeler is quickly making himself close to untouchable with his brilliance lately."
Even through his success, control has remained an issue for the young right-hander. He has issued 55 walks on the season, and among 95 qualified starting pitchers, his 3.68 walks per nine ranks 88th.
Wheeler was fortunate to escape Washington unharmed, but manager Terry Collins praised the sophomore’s ability to maneuver through trouble.
"You see it in every phase. He's not just throwing now, he knows what he wants to do. But the biggest thing is, I've seen a whole different competitor on the mound. All of the sudden he's a different animal out there."
While refusing to deal Wheeler is hardly a shocker, it could come into play if the Mets pursue Troy Tulowitzki this winter. The star shortstop easily justifies a pitcher of that stature, but Sandy Alderson could still assemble a juicy package around Noah Syndergaard if he wants to make a major splash.