The deal is finally official and contrary to the popular notion that the Mets weren’t going to be able to get a top prospect for Carlos Beltran, GM Sandy Alderson did a masterful job of dangling Beltran out there, sifting through the offers with little bargaining power and extricated Zack Wheeler from the Giants.
Next, rather than admit they were wrong and that they don’t know what they’re talking about, the “experts” and “insiders” in the media will say it’s not their collective faults that Giants GM Brian Sabean was stupid enough not to hold out and tell Alderson that he wouldn’t give up Wheeler.
Be that as it may, the Mets got themselves the Giants 1st round pick from the 2009 draft.
The Giants are adept at finding and nurturing pitchers. Because of the success they’ve had with the development of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner, perhaps teams should shun those silly rules that organizations like the Yankees have enacted and try something different as the Giants and Rangers have—plans that have worked.
You can read an judgment of Wheeler from before he was drafted—along with a slow motion video—here on Baseball-Intellect. They’re usually pretty reliable in their viewpoints.
Wheeler, 6’3″ and lanky, is generally clocked in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball, has a slurve and a changeup. Below you can look at a video clip of him from late last season.
His motion somewhat reminds me of Stephen Strasburg in its fluidity and easy generation of power. He has the long arms of Strasburg as well; if you’re wondering why Wheeler’s unable to achieve the triple-digit fastball as Strasburg could, I’d venture a guess that his hands are far smaller than the giant mitts on Strasburg. Smaller hands mean less leverage which translates into lower velocity.
Effortless and smooth in a quirky sort of way, he’s all arms, legs, elbows and wrists; he lands slightly to the right of his posting leg and is throwing a bit across his body but not enough to be deeply concerned about a mechanically-induced arm injury, nor is it something to I’d mess around with if I were the Mets.
The mechanics are repeatable, but because he’s so tall and lean and has some moving parts, he might be in danger of losing his release point now and again, hence the occasional wildness. Again, not something I’d be overly worried about.
The Mets did a brilliant job of maximizing the value of a player in Beltran whom they weren’t going to keep and for whom they had no draft pick compensation coming back when he left as a free agent. They got themselves a superior, All Star-level talent from a club that knows how to find and build pitchers.
Alderson did a terrific job.