There was not a ton to be excited about if you were a Mets fan in 2018, but one thing that went really well was the emergence of Zack Wheeler.
After three seasons in which injuries and ineffectiveness made many people forget how good a prospect he was once upon a time, Wheeler really put it together in 2018, going 12-7 with a 3.31 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and 8.8 K/9 across 29 starts. He was particularly effective in the second half, going 9-1 with a 1.68 ERA in 11 starts, while greatly reducing his walk rate. Just solid all around.
Today Mets manager Mickey Callaway confirmed that Wheeler’s Monday start was his last one and that he has been shut down for the season. It’s a workload-based decision, not a health decision. Wheeler has pitched 187.1 innings this season between the minors and majors, which is more than twice the number of innings he pitched in his previous three years combined. No sense risking his offseason routine. All kinds of sense in ending things on a high note.
Wheeler will be eligible for salary arbitration for the final time this winter. He will also, along with Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, form the basis of what a lot of people might reasonably suspect is a rotation that can anchor a contender in 2019. Yes, people say that sort of thing about the Mets often and they so rarely come though, but hope is a hard thing to kill. Especially when you have a 1-2-3- punch with Wheeler as the “worst” of the bunch.