How the Mets Stack Up Without Wheeler



(Yong Kim/Philadelphia Daily News/MCT )


While the Yankees were preparing for life after Derek Jeter and the San Francisco Giants were still celebrating their World Series win, the Mets were distraught due to the season ending injury of their rising star pitcher, Zack Wheeler.

During the 2014 season, Wheeler became one of the stars of the Met’s pitching staff. With Matt Harvey out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, Wheeler stepped up as their ace pitcher. While 2014 was only his second season playing in MLB, he pitched 185 and 1/3 innings and also had the third highest fastball velocity in the majors according to SB Nation. Wheeler’s injury came as a surprise to the Mets. In September 2014, Wheeler had an MRI due to discomfort in his elbow; however, the MRI came back clean, which is why he continued pitching throughout the rest of the season. The team had nothing to worry about until his ligament damage was too extensive and he had to undergo Tommy John surgery on March 25, 2015. While it was in the Mets’ power to put Wheeler back into the rotation after his MRI came back clean, many including Grant Brisbee of SB Nation, think that the Mets should have put Wheeler on the Disabled List as to not overwork him, which he believes led to his ligament damage. For the 2015 season, the Mets staff was hopeful to further hone Wheeler’s pitching skill to make him a true asset to the team.

To add to the list of injuries, Jenrry Mejia, the Met’s closer, was unable to close the Opening Day game due to pain in his elbow. The MRI, showed that he has inflammation, which will be treated with a cortisone shot and not a torn ligament. Mets fans and staff were concerned due to their last closer, Bobby Parnell, needing Tommy John surgery after Opening Day in 2014.

The real question is whether the Mets can overcome these injuries to continue winning games. When Richard Justice, a reporter for MLB, was asked whether or not the Mets can contend without Wheeler, he responded, “Absolutely. Let’s not get silly.” One of the reasons that Justice might have had that response is that Matt Harvey, the ace pitcher for the Mets, is finally returning after having Tommy John surgery as well. In the 2013-2014 offseason, after having undergone rehab for his partially-torn ulnar collateral ligament, Harvey decided to have Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2014 season. During the 2013 season, Harvey had an impressive 2.27 Earned Run Average (ERA) and pitched in the All-Star Game. The entire Mets franchise is very excited to have him back and hopeful that his pitching game will continue to lead the team to win more games. Manager Terry Collins is particularly looking forward to having Harvey back as is seen by his comment in Newsday, “We’re just glad that Matt’s back because again I think that’s why we were able to say what we did at the end of last year. That we think we’re going to compete when you’ve got a No. 1 starter.”

Clearly there is nothing to worry about when it comes to the Mets’ pitching staff even if there are a few of its members out due to injuries. With the promising improvement of their defense and offense and the return of Harvey, the Mets are in a prime position to be World Series contenders.