Mets

Backman On Dominant Wheeler: ‘He’s Going To Be Pushing The Door Open Himself’

Top Pitching Prospect Has 0.68 ERA Over Last 2 Starts
Zack Wheeler (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Zack Wheeler (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mets top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler didn’t get off to the start that everyone hoped he would get off to at Triple-A Las Vegas this season.

But it finally looks as if the fireballer is turning the corner and finding his groove on the hill.

Following five subpar outings to begin the season, he’s delivered two dominant efforts for the 51s. On April 30, the right-hander surrendered one run on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out eight.

And he was even better on Sunday against Sacramento, allowing no runs on three hits in six dominant frames.

51s manager Wally Backman couldn’t say enough about Wheeler after that game.

“Outstanding — the best he’s pitched all year,” Backman told the New York Post on Monday. “He’s turning the corner, that is what we have seen the last two starts. If we see that a couple of more starts, he’s going to be pushing the door open himself, forcing the issue for sure.”

In seven games started for Las Vegas this season, the 22-year-old is 2-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 36 innings pitched. He’s walked 17 and struck out 40.

But his 0.68 ERA over his last two starts has Backman pleased with the former first-round pick’s development and ability to adjust.

“He’s showed excellent command the last couple of starts,” Backman told the newspaper. “Before he was missing up and out of the strike zone, arm side, all the time. And (Sunday) he never missed one time up and out of the zone arm side. He kept everything down, threw to both sides of the plate and threw his offspeed stuff for strikes. He looked really good.”

Wheeler is expected to be called up by the Mets this summer.

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