The Mets aren’t promoting prospect Zack Wheeler for a spot start because the organization would feel pressure to extend his stint in the big leagues, says ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin:
Essentially, team brass internally resolved, New York couldn’t handle a spot start from Wheeler and return to Triple-A.
If the outing was too successful filling in for Niese, the pressure would have been overwhelming to keep Wheeler in the major league rotation. So the organization decided to bypass the potential agita and instead give Collin McHugh the assignment.
The 23-year-old Wheeler, rated the #11 overall prospect by Baseball America entering the season, has a 4.13 ERA in 52.1 innings. The Mets snagged Wheeler from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade in July 2011.
Mets manager Terry Collins said, “If Zack comes, we hope that he stays here for the rest of his time.”
The Giants placed outfielder Hunter Pence on the 10-day disabled list with a right thumb sprain, per an official announcement on Friday. Pence initially sustained the injury during the club’s home opener on April 3, when he dove to intercept a line drive double from Robinson Cano and jammed his thumb. Weeks of playing through the pain hasn’t worked, so he’ll take a breather while the Giants give outfielder Mac Williamson a chance to start in left after getting called up from Triple-A Fresno.
Pence, 35, wouldn’t pin his recent struggles on his injury, but it’s clear that he’s having difficulty finding his footing this year. He slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 through 61 plate appearances in 2018, collecting just one extra-base hit and two walks during the Giants’ dismal 7-11 stretch. While it’s far too early in the season to make any final judgments, it doesn’t look like the veteran outfielder will be replicating the .275+ average, 4.0+ fWAR totals of years past (at least, not anytime soon).
Williamson, meanwhile, has gotten off to a hot start in Triple-A. Prior to his call-up this weekend, the 27-year-old batted an incredible .487/.600/1.026 with six home runs and a 1.626 OPS through his first 50 PA. A hot Triple-A bat doesn’t always survive the transition to the majors, but the Giants will use all the help they can get — especially as they take on the AL West-leading Angels this weekend.