It’s official: Zack Wheeler will open 2013 in Triple-A.
According to ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin, the top pitching prospect was formally reassigned to minor league camp on Sunday morning in Port St. Lucie. He made one appearance in the Grapefruit League, striking out two batters over two scoreless innings.
Wheeler, ranked 11th on Baseball America‘s most recent Top 100 prospect listing, posted a 3.26 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 148/59 K/BB ratio over 149 innings last season between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo. He was acquired from the Giants in the summer of 2011 for outfielder Carlos Beltran.
The 22-year-old righty is expected to make his major league debut before the All-Star break.
No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.
Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.
Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.