Sunday, February 24, 2013

N.Y. Mets: Matt Harvey And Zach Wheeler Joined At The Hip

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS - The Senior Half Of The Amazin's Latest Attempt At A Dynamic Duo Pitches Today.

Mets top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler made his 2013 Spring debut Saturday afternoon against the Washington Nationals.  He pitched two innings, and in a word - impressed.  Over the ensuing twenty hours or so, sports radio, tabloids, fan blogs, and Twitter, were all abuzz over what they saw.  In two innings pitched, Zach allowed one hit, issued one walk, and struck out back-to-back batters with a runner on base.

The talk surrounding Wheeler now needs a considerable cool down.  But that might have to wait till Tuesday at the earliest.  Many will want to spend all of Monday letting their imaginations run wild in the thought of a dynamic one-two punch the Mets seemingly are putting together.  For on Sunday afternoon, Matt Harvey will make his Spring mound debut as well.

Mets fans and the media already got their initial taste of Matt Harvey last season.  After Harvey's 59.1 innings pitched in 2012, and after just two innings and two strikeouts for Wheeler yesterday, it very fair, if not fun, getting caught up in what the two can accomplish together.  But to include them in conversation regarding great Mets pitching combos of the past is going too far.  Amusing as it is pondering Harvey and Wheeler in the same ilk as Seaver/Koosman, and Doc and Darling, the Mets young unproven duo isn't even in the same conversation with Bill Pulsipher, Jason Isringhausen or even Paul Wilson.  Of course, just based on pure MLB experience alone, they aren't even Craig Swan and Pat Zachry yet.  For they are yet to wear major league uniforms together in the same season.  However consensus says, that will change this summer.

The radio voices and scribes; the supposed custodians of reason; have spoken.  One of them wants Wheeler in Flushing right away.  I'm not singling anyone out.  It is too early for that.  There is no denying however, METropolis is already abuzz over what they saw on Saturday.  But I will only appeal to Mets fans, remove those thoughts from your mouths and shut your brain.  Learn your lesson from Generation-K; stay level headed about our newest situation.

The club already announced Zach Wheeler will begin the 2013 in Las Vegas.  That's good.  Despite what we saw yesterday in St. Lucie, Zach still has control issues to contend with.  He has 323 innings of minor league experience.  Matt Harvey was pushed into the bigs after just 245 innings pitched.  On both counts, I thought the number was low.  But when I looked back at the numbers, it seems my fears are unfounded.

Just using the names mentioned as an example, Tom Seaver broke into the bigs after just 210 minor league innings pitched.  Doc Gooden, the ace of the 1980's staff, made his MLB debut after 269 innings.  Their respective partners, Jerry Koosman and Ron Darling, threw considerably more.  Jerry Koosman tossed 467 minor league innings before joining Seaver.  Ron Darling pitched 382 innings before arriving in Flushing.  In between, lie Matt Harvey and Zach Wheeler.

Just for fun, Steve Carlton threw 306 innings in the minors.  Bob Gibson threw 451 innings.  The "Dominican Dandy" Juan Marichal, threw 655 innings in three seasons of minor league baseball.  Nolan Ryan threw 291 innings in the Mets system.  More recently, Pedro Martinez threw 419 innings in the minors.  Justin Verlander is a freak - one minor league season split between A and AA; 118.2 innings pitched.


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