The Mets have shut down Zack Wheeler

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According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets have decided to shut down Zack Wheeler after he complained of shoulder stiffness following his most recent start. The 22-year-old was slated to make one more start on Monday against the Reds, but that won’t happen now. The shoulder issue isn’t a major concern and won’t require an MRI, but Mets manager Terry Collins said that they don’t want to push it after what happened with Matt Harvey.

Wheeler made his major league debut in June and ended up posting a 3.42 ERA and 84/46 K/BB ratio over 100 innings. He faded a bit this month, walking 12 batters in 17 innings, but the Mets have to be pleased with what they saw during his first stint in the big leagues.

Wheeler will wrap up the year with 168 2/3 innings between the majors and minors, a 20-inning jump from what he threw last year between Double-A and Triple-A. If healthy, he should have a chance to progress to the 200-inning mark during his first full season in the majors next year.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves