For all the talk of the New York Mets trading aces Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom this summer, it’s Zack Wheeler that is reportedly getting the most interest on the trade market ahead of Major League Baseball’s Jul. 31 deadline.
According to FanCred’s Jon Heyman, Wheeler is the “one likely” Mets starter to be traded this month as there are approximately six teams that have inquired about him.
The 28-year-old right-hander is nowhere near the same level of pitcher that deGrom or Syndergaard is, but he could be viewed as a powerful arm to bolster the bottom of a contending team’s rotation.
Over the past two years, Wheeler has shown that he can remain relatively healthy, which is important for a talent whose development in the majors was wrecked by Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2015 and 2016 seasons.
His numbers since the return have not been great as he is a combined 6-13 with a 4.79 ERA since last year. He still suffers from control issues as he is averaging just over two strikeouts per walk while allowing 201 hits in 193.2 innings.
However, Wheeler has been performing better as of late, which is likely the reason why his trade prospects are increasing. In his last six starts, he has a 3.49 ERA while opponents are batting just .221 against him. His strikeout-to-walk ratio has also improved as it sits at a flat 3.00.
There has also been a revitalization in his fastball, which is impressive considering he has been averaging near 95 miles per hour since his big-league debut in 2013. However, Fangraphs pointed out that Wheeler’s fastball was clocking in at an average of 96.7 miles per hour in a June 1 start against the Chicago Cubs. That’s the fastest average he’s had since being called up five years ago.
It’s worth noting that Wheeler is under team control until after the 2019 season, which doesn’t necessarily make him a rental. He will also call for far less on the trade market than the likes of J.A. Happ or Cole Hamels, which is a big reason why he’s getting the kind of interest aggregated so far.