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Zack Wheeler wins arbitration case against Mets

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ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that pitcher Zack Wheeler won his arbitration case against the Mets. Wheeler filed for $1.9 million and will earn that salary for the 2018 season. The Mets had countered at $1.5 million.

Wheeler, 27, was in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He made 17 starts in 2017, posting a 5.21 ERA with an 81/40 K/BB ratio in 86 1/3 innings. His season ended early, after his July 22 start against the Athletics, due to a stress reaction in his right arm.

Wheeler figures to open the season at the back of the starting rotation. Of course, he will have to prove that he can stay healthy and pitch effectively.

The players are now 7-4 against their respective teams in arbitration hearings this year. Wheeler joins Mookie Betts, Adeiny Hechavarria, Shelby Miller, Ken Giles, Justin Bour, and Yolmer Sanchez as players who have won. Eugenio Suarez, Roberto Osuna, J.T. Realmuto, and Justin Grimm (reported today by Bob Nightengale) have lost.

Major League Baseball to launch an elite league for high schoolers

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This morning Major League Baseball announced a new elite league for high school baseball players who are likely to be drafted. It’s called the Prospect Development Pipeline League. It’ll start next summer and it’ll invite 80 of the best current high school juniors to play in a league in Florida from June through early July, culminating in an All-Star Game during MLB’s All-Star week.

The idea behind the league: to combat the current system in which a couple of pay-to-play, for-profit showcase leagues dominate the pre-draft season. Major League Baseball, schools and a lot of players’ parents have criticized this system because it favors rich kids who can afford to play in them. Major League Baseball is also likely quite keen on having greater control over the training, health and physical monitoring of prospects.

As Jeff Passan notes in his report about this, there will be a component of the program which involves live data-tracking of players during games and drills. Major League Baseball has become increasingly interested in such things but is limited in how much it can do in this regard due to labor agreements. There is no such impediment with high schoolers. Your mileage will vary when it comes to how you feel about that, I presume.