Don’t Overreact To Wheeler’s Slow Start

Two starts into the season, and Zack Wheeler looks more like the maddening pitcher he was most of his career than the pitcher who had a better second half era than Jacob deGrom. In fact, you could say this is the worst he’s ever looked. So far, he’s 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA, 1.862 WHIP, and a 7.4 BB/9.

This has led to a a number of different reactions. There is a wonder if the Mets made the right decision not extending Wheeler. It’s possible the second half was an enigma. Possibly, while we focused on deGrom, maybe it was really Wheeler who benefited from Devin Mesoraco.

The most likely answer is it is none of those things. Really, this is a slow start from a slow starter.

In Wheeler’s career, his April ERA is 4.95, which is his worst of his career. Breaking it down, Wheeler is a slow starter. His career first half ERA is 4.45, and his second half ERA is 2.92. This includes his having a 2.30 ERA in the month of August.

For a moment, take a look back at the 2014 season. In April and May, Wheeler had a 4.31 ERA, and he was getting hit hard by some of the better teams in baseball. As disappointing as his first half would prove, something seemed to click with him in July.

In July, Wheeler had a 1.67 ERA. Between July and August, he had a 2.24 ERA. Over the course of those 10 starts, he averaged 6.1 innings per start, and he limited batters to a .211/.295/.343 batting line. In all 10 of those starts, he allowed three earned or fewer, nine of those starts were two earned or fewer, and in  half of those starts he allowed just one earned.

After that second half, there was much excitement about seeing Wheeler being a significant part of the 2015 Mets rotation. Unfortunately, circumstances would prove differently. It would not be until the 2018 season Wheeler would try reemerge.

Like that 2014 season, Wheeler struggled through May. In fact, while it may be easy to forget, Wheeler had a 5.40 ERA as the Mets entered June. Once again, he began to figure it out in July, and over July and August, Wheeler would have a 2.o1 ERA. Once again, his second half had people eagerly anticipating him being a part of the Opening Day rotation.

So far, the enthusiasm has been tampered down a bit. Two rough starts against a potent Nationals lineup will do that to a pitcher. It will do that all the more to a pitcher who is typically a slow starter. It’s easy to overlook that early in the season when two bad starts wildly skew a player’s stats.

In the end, baseball is a marathon, and at the end of the day, the Mets need Wheeler to be Wheeler for them to be successful. If he takes his time to warm up, so be it because in the end, we know how great he can be when he gets it going. And when he gets it going, his poor start will once again be a distant memory.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Overreact To Wheeler’s Slow Start”

  1. LongTimeFan1 says:

    I agree Mets Daddy Wheeler will be fine. He’s just too talented and determined not to.fix what’s failing.

    As long as he’s healthy, I believe we can count on the appropriate Mets personnel to help him adjust his mechanics, timing and pace to return him to what he can and should be as we saw in second half 2018.

    When he fixes it and has several good starts under his belt, it would be good time to work out team friendly extension, a smart move by both sides.

  2. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Re: JD Davis and our prior debates, he’s getting very positive press and write ups on his talent, smarts, adjustments and projected future.

    For example, Fangraphs ran an article on him the other day.

    Metsblog has an article today quoting scouts as well as Dave Hudgens.

    In my opinion, if Davis pans out and proves himself this season as reliable on both sides of the ball, we could have ourselves a trio of mid-20’s, mid order power bats who should also get on base at healthy clip, use whole field, hit for average and make the Mets line up formidable long term. Alonso-Conforto-Davis.

    Over the long hall, two solid seasons for Davis in 2019 and 2020 polishing his game, sets him up to be important part of our future.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      What stood out most to be about the Fangraphs piece was Davis has not changed his swing. With no change in his swing, he’s going to be the same worm killer he’s always been.

  3. LongTimeFan1 says:

    Mets Daddy, you’re just stubborn. You’ve been against JD since we obtained him.

    He’s had a fine minor league career and is off to nice start with us with 5 BB, 8 hits, just 7 K’s and second in the majors in Exit Velocity.

    He’s playing himself into retaining a roster spot even when Frazier returns. Frazier’s been playing some short now in minor league rehab stint.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I’ve presented factual evidence to substantiate those claims, and aside from one game, he’s been terrible.

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