The New York Mets announced today that they are shutting down Zack Wheeler for the remainder of the 2018 season. Corey Oswalt will make the start on Saturday against the Washington Nationals.
Prior to Wheeler’s last start on Monday, Mickey Callaway mentioned that they were monitoring the right-hander “very, very closely” and could conceivably shut him down after that start. According to Callaway, the decision was made based on his workload and not any health problems. Wheeler, who missed the entire 2015 and 2016 season following Tommy John surgery and pitched only 86.1 innings in 2017, exceeded last year’s mark by 96 innings.
Wheeler finishes the season with a career best in wins (12), ERA (3.31), FIP (3.24), WHIP (1.12), BB% (7.4%), and K% (24.1%), while falling eight strikeouts and 3.0 innings shy of his career high in those categories. It was a career year for Wheeler after injuries derailed his progress over the past three seasons.
Wheeler had a rough Spring Training and began the year in Triple-A before joining the team in Miami. After an encouraging first start on April 11 against the Miami Marlins, he struggled throughout much of the months of April and May and entered June with a 5.40 ERA. After that, he turned his season around and developed into one of the best starting pitchers in the National League.
In his last 15 starts, he posted a 2.06 ERA, a 2.70 FIP, and a 0.92 WHIP in 100.2 innings pitched. He struck out 100 while walking only 24 during that span and ranked in the top 10 in the National League in ERA and FIP since the All-Star game. With his trade value at an all-time high following this resurgence, the team toyed with trading him at the deadline but did not receive an enticing enough offer and held on to him. Wheeler is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season.