Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler
29-Year-Old PitcherSP
New York Mets
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Wheeler logged 17 erratic starts in 2017, but that was an achievement, considering he was working his way back after two lost seasons due to Tommy John surgery and a subsequent flexor pronator issue. As is the case with many TJS patients, Wheeler’s control didn't return until the second post-surgery season, and his velocity followed suit during his brilliant 2018. The former top prospect cut his HR/9 by more than half, maintained his almost-great K/9 and led starting pitchers (min. 500 batted-ball events) with an 84.7 average exit velocity. The Mets wisely shut him down in September to limit his innings during a meaningless season after he dazzled with a 1.8 BB/9 and 1.68 ERA in the second half. At just 28 years old, Wheeler has the potential to take another step forward in 2019. Don’t bank on more starts, but Wheeler's skills are close to ace-level, and the best part is you don't have to pay an ace price. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a one-year, $5.98 million contract with the Mets in January of 2019, avoiding arbitration.
Ambushed by Atlanta
PNew York Mets
August 13, 2019
Wheeler (9-7) took the loss Tuesday, coughing up five runs on 12 hits and two walks over five innings while striking out two as the Mets fell 5-3 to Atlanta.
The dozen hits were the most Wheeler has allowed in any start this season, and he saw both his 15-inning scoreless streak and three-game winning streak snapped on a tough night. The right-hander will carry a 4.36 ERA and 151:37 K:BB through 144.1 innings into his next outing Sunday in Kansas City.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .258 792 201 73 181 24 3 26
Since 2017vs Right .244 950 210 59 213 32 0 21
2019vs Left .273 262 69 21 65 8 1 9
2019vs Right .252 350 82 16 82 13 0 9
2018vs Left .238 361 90 34 75 12 1 8
2018vs Right .212 383 89 21 75 8 0 6
2017vs Left .275 169 42 18 41 4 1 9
2017vs Right .290 217 39 22 56 11 0 6
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
Since 2017Home 4.11 1.28 217.0 12 12 0 9.0 3.1 1.0
Since 2017Away 4.04 1.27 196.0 12 9 0 8.9 2.7 1.1
2019Home 4.20 1.16 70.2 5 2 0 9.6 2.4 0.9
2019Away 4.52 1.38 73.2 4 5 0 9.3 2.2 1.3
2018Home 3.14 1.18 97.1 5 5 0 8.5 2.5 0.6
2018Away 3.49 1.06 85.0 7 2 0 9.2 3.0 0.7
2017Home 5.88 1.63 49.0 2 5 0 9.2 5.1 1.7
2017Away 4.34 1.53 37.1 1 2 0 7.5 2.9 1.4
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Stat Review
How does Zack Wheeler compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 70 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
96.7 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
87.4 mph
Spin Rate
2233 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
After missing two entire seasons rehabbing from Tommy John surgery followed by a flexor strain issue, Wheeler's prognosis in 2017 was anyone's guess. After topping out at 97 mph in the spring, Wheeler broke camp as the fourth starter, starting 13 games before being sidelined with biceps tendinitis. Wheeler returned for four more outings before he was shelved again, this time with a stress reaction in his throwing arm. After setbacks in his recovery, Wheeler was shut down for good with an eye toward returning at 100 percent in 2018. For the season, Wheeler was expectedly inconsistent, especially with control. He was also victimized by the long ball, serving up 15 homers in only 86.1 stanzas. Wheeler is expected to be ready to go for spring training, where he'll again look to impress and earn a spot in the Mets' rotation. He continues to have mid-rotation upside, but remains a health and performance risk.
Wheeler underwent Tommy John surgery in March of 2015, with an anticipated return to the majors around July of the 2016 campaign. In early June, that target was moved to after the All-Star break as the one-time, top prospect was slow to work breaking pitches into his recovery. In late June, Wheeler experienced soreness in his throwing elbow which turned out to be sensory nerve irritation, treatable with a cortisone injection. The right-hander continued his rehab, finally throwing in a game for High-A St. Lucie on August 6, tossing 17 pitches with excellent velocity. However, Wheeler felt more elbow soreness and was diagnosed with a mild flexor strain. This nixed Wheeler's return in 2016 and shut him down completely until pitchers and catchers report to spring training in February. His progress is worth monitoring in the spring, but for now, Wheeler is a reserve-round flier at best.
Concerns regarding the health of Wheeler's pitching elbow began to surface late in 2014 (among Mets officials, not publicly), but doctors initially diagnosed the right-hander with tendinitis, and Wheeler himself later said that he never considered skipping a start. However, after more tenderness in spring training, Wheeler was sent for an MRI, which revealed a completely torn ulnar collateral ligament. Tommy John surgery followed, and due to the extensive damage to the ligament, Wheeler was not cleared to resume throwing on flat ground until almost six months later. He appeared on the verge of a breakout before the injury, having struck out a batter per inning with improved groundball and walk rates over 185.1 frames in 2014. We likely won't get a glimpse at Wheeler until June, making him a risky target in single-season leagues. If Wheeler comes back and continues to flash plus stuff with mid-90s heat, he could be a difference maker down the stretch, but that is what FAAB dollars are for.
Wheeler was once considered a brighter prospect than Matt Harvey. It wasn’t an unreasonable position by any stretch. Inconsistency plagued Wheeler's first half of 2014. Just look at this 10-start run that began in early-May: 0, 5, 5, 2, 1, 0, 4, 4, 0, 6, and 1 earned run in 63 innings with 62 strikeouts, but just a 2.2 K:BB ratio. He found the missing consistency in the second half, allowing more than three earned just once in 15 starts from July through September. He wound up with a 2.80 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 90 innings while boosting his K:BB ratio a more palatable 2.5 mark. The biggest issue right now is the walk rate. He can’t live at 10 percent and still be a frontline option, but this is the kind of profile that you bet on. Unfortunately, a potential breakout will have to wait at least one more year, as Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn UCL in March and will miss the entire 2015 campaign due to Tommy John surgery.
The Mets followed a similar approach with Wheeler as they did with Matt Harvey by having him come to camp with the team, start the year in the minors, and then promoting him during the summer. In Wheeler's case, he was called up in mid-June and quickly showed he belonged. Wheeler got better as the year wore on, and his challenge for the future is to improve his control, as walks, which have been an issue in the past, prevented him from going deep into games at times and resulted in too many baserunners. He was shut down before his last start with shoulder stiffness, and with Matt Harvey out at the time due to an elbow injury, the Mets opted to be cautious with the young stud. Wheeler, who mixes a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph with a nasty mid-70s curveball and work-in-progress changeup, should open 2014 as the Mets' No. 2 or No.3 starter.
Wheeler handled his promotion to Double-A well enough to get a taste of Buffalo at the end of the season, although his walk rate (4.4 BB/9) increased during his six-start run after the bump. The Mets have indicated plans to send him back to Triple-A for the start of 2013, following a similar development plan as Matt Harvey and making him a part of their rotation during the middle of the season. When opposing hitters make contact, they rarely hit Wheeler hard, as evidenced by an .078 ISO against last season. If he can take the necessary steps to improve his control, there is reason to believe that he can still develop into a frontline starter.
Wheeler immediately became the Mets' top prospect after he was acquired from San Francisco for Carlos Beltran in July. The sixth overall pick in 2009, Wheeler spent all of 2011 in High-A, tearing through San Jose and St. Lucie. He mixes a mid-90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph with a mid-70s nasty curveball and work-in-progress change-up that made some strides last year. Wheeler is also working on a cut-fastball, and if he can refine either the change or cutter, it would push him to possible ace status. Wheeler will likely spend all of 2012 between Double- and Triple-A before making his arrival at Citi Field in 2013.
Wheeler, the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 draft, battled some wildness during his first year in professional baseball last season, posting a 5.9 BB/9IP ratio. However, he also recorded an impressive 10.8 K/9IP ratio as a 20-year-old in Double-A, revealing plenty of long-term upside. Wheeler also flashed a strong groundball rate and didn't allow a single home run over 58.2 innings. He's still a couple of years from contributing at the big league level, but he has the potential to be a future No. 1 starter.
San Francisco selected Wheeler in the first round of the 2009 draft, sixth overall, out of high school in Georgia. The right-hander has a plus fastball that reaches the low-to-mid 90s and a power curve. Look for the Giants to improve upon his almost non-existent changeup, as Wheeler opens 2010 in Low-A as already one of the team’s better prospects.
More Fantasy News
Blanks Marlins for ninth win
PNew York Mets
August 6, 2019
Wheeler (9-6) picked up the win in Tuesday's 5-0 victory over the Marlins, allowing eight hits and a walk over eight scoreless innings while striking out five.
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Dominates White Sox
PNew York Mets
August 1, 2019
Wheeler (8-6) picked up the win against the White Sox on Thursday, scattering four hits over seven shutout innings, striking out seven with no walks as the Mets won 4-0.
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Earns victory in return
PNew York Mets
July 26, 2019
Wheeler (7-6) allowed three runs on six hits with no walks and seven strikeouts across 5.1 innings while earning a victory against the Pirates on Friday.
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Activated for Friday's start
PNew York Mets
July 26, 2019
Wheeler (shoulder) was activated off the 10-day injured list to start Friday's game against the Pirates.
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Confirmed for Friday's start
PNew York Mets
July 24, 2019
Wheeler (shoulder) is slated to start Friday's game against the Pirates, Matt Ehalt of Yahoo Sports reports.
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