Once a heralded top prospect, Wheeler was supposed to be part of the Mets’ young, dominant starting rotation that included Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Steven Matz. Clearly, plans have changed in New York, mainly due to injuries that have led to poor performance from the franchise on the whole.
Wheeler is no exception to these injuries. After showing incredible promise at age-24 in 2014, when he put up a 3.54 ERA with 187 strikeouts in 185.1 innings, Wheeler’s career was derailed. He tore the UCL in his right elbow during Spring Training in 2015, resulting in Tommy John surgery. In his first rehab start recovering from the injury, over a year later in August 2016, Wheeler again was injured, this time with a flexor strain. He missed the rest of the season.
On April 7, 2017, Wheeler returned to the major leagues after a two year hiatus, but he was unable to escape injuries even then, missing time to two separate injuries: biceps tendinitis and a stress reaction in his arm. The promising young starter seen three years prior was a fading memory; Wheeler’s 5.21 ERA and poor strikeout-to-walk ratio suggested that he was not the same pitcher.
That has all changed, at least in the short-term.
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