Well, it seems like the Mets’ hot-start is starting to show its true colors.
After starting off the season with a power-packed performance at Citi Field against the Padres — and a handful of pretty impressive victories here and there — the Mets have started to show the cracks in their armor; highlighted by two wrenching losses to the Colorado Rockies at the snow-covered Coors Field.
Essentially, the formula for a Mets victory is simple: if Jon Niese or Matt Harvey is pitching, they have a decent chance at getting a win. If any other of the Mets’ three starters are on the hill, the likelihood of something in the “W” column gets much lower.
This begs the question: how long will the team wait for top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler to be promoted to the majors?
The answer is about as clear as it was in Spring Training. Bringing up Wheeler now would probably give the Mets a better chance of winning games every fifth day — but at what cost? Besides starting his arbitration clock early, and therefore forfeiting a year of potential service on the team, the Mets also have to consider if the young pitcher is truly ready for the big leagues.
Sure, Wheeler is bound to pitch better than Dillon Gee, Jeremy Hefner and Aaron Laffey just based on pure skill alone. But just because he is better than the current crop of has-beens and disappointments currently pitching for the Mets, it doesn’t mean he is ready to compete — and more importantly excel — at a major league level.
Wheeler is close to being ready, there is no question about that. But the timing isn’t right. If the Mets were a pitcher or two away from competing for the rest of the season, the idea of placing Wheeler into the rotation would be much more tempting.
But the fact of the matter is the Mets aren’t going anywhere this season, and waiting for Wheeler to develop and mature makes sense at this point. Why would they rush the brightest pitching prospect they have possessed in recent memory? The idea of sacrificing a bright future for a few extra wins in a basically irrelevant season doesn’t make sense.
Let Wheeler pitch in Las Vegas for a few more weeks, and then in mid-May we can watch him take the mound for what will hopefully be years to come.