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Saturday, February 09, 2019

Mets’ Zack Wheeler has the stuff for a Cy Young season

With his injury history, I can’t see the Mets locking him up without a highly discounted price tag.

The right-hander would be a terrific fit for the Braves — he lives outside Atlanta — so the Mets need to make sure they can keep Wheeler in their rotation for the long haul.

“I’m here right now, [and] that’s all I’m worried about,” Wheeler said about his upcoming free-agent status after participating in his first day of pre-camp, at one point throwing a bullpen session alongside deGrom and Syndergaard. “All that stuff will figure itself out, and I will worry about that later. You know it’s coming up and you want to have a good year, but at the same time, it’s about what’s now. I’m here with the Mets, and this is where I want to win, and that’s what’s happening right now.”

Jim Furtado Posted: February 09, 2019 at 07:30 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets, zach wheeler

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2019 at 03:55 PM (#5813979)
Pitchers break out unexpectedly and of course wins and defense-supported ERA numbers still play a big role in the award but Wheeler has a career 99 ERA+, his 8.6/3.6 career K/BB is a smidgen worse than 2018 NL average and it's taken him 550 innings to get to 6.4 WAR ... perfectly respectable above-average performance but it usually takes about 6 WAR in one season to get yourself on the CYA radar.

Granted, having Wheeler as your team's 3rd-best CYA bet (and Matz is close if not ahead) speaks well of the rotation.
   2. Swoboda is freedom Posted: February 09, 2019 at 05:00 PM (#5813989)
According the BB Ref, he did have 4.2 WAR in 182 IP. I think the author is looking at the second half, where he has a 1.68 ERA and really got his walks down. It is not as big a leap as you are making out. I am dubious, but he has shown the talent.
   3. Adam Starblind Posted: February 09, 2019 at 05:39 PM (#5813993)
Pitchers break out unexpectedly and of course wins and defense-supported ERA numbers still play a big role in the award but Wheeler has a career 99 ERA+, his 8.6/3.6 career K/BB is a smidgen worse than 2018 NL average and it's taken him 550 innings to get to 6.4 WAR ... perfectly respectable above-average performance but it usually takes about 6 WAR in one season to get yourself on the CYA radar.

Granted, having Wheeler as your team's 3rd-best CYA bet (and Matz is close if not ahead) speaks well of the rotation.


I am assuming you didn't read the article, because this is a ridiculous response. The author is bullish based on Wheeler's improvements last year in health and results.
   4. bbmck Posted: February 09, 2019 at 06:29 PM (#5813997)
Cy Young stuff, tied for 15th lowest ERA in a month of 4+ starts, T16th if you include Ryan Stanek 7 GS, 15.2 IP, 0.00 ERA and wasn't all that lucky with BABIP to pull it off:

Chris Sale: July, 0.36 ERA, 25 IP, 178/229/233, .340 BABIP
Jacob deGrom: May, 0.69 ERA, 26 IP, 181/260/234, .286 BABIP
Cole Hamels: August, 0.69 ERA, 39 IP, 212/286/227, .295 BABIP
Junior Guerra: April 0.82 ERA, 22 IP, 176/282/216, .245 BABIP
Johnny Cueto: April, 0.84 ERA, 32 IP, 150/216/206. .188 BABIP

Tyler Skaggs: June, 0.84 ERA, 32 IP, 235/282/322, .338 BABIP
Justin Verlander: May, 0.86 ERA, 41.2 IP, 153/201/236, .223 BABIP
Jake Arrieta: May, 0.90 ERA, 30 IP, 236/296/302, .282 BABIP
Sean Manaea: April, 1.03 ERA, 43.2 IP, 134/178/221, .148 BABIP
Blake Snell: August, 1.04 ERA 26 IP, 131/187/250, .184 BABIP

Aaron Nola: August, 1.06, 34 IP, 189/254/262, .253 BABIP
Luis Castillo: Sept, 1.09 ERA, 33 IP, 172/230/302, .203 BABIP
Reynaldo Lopez: Sept, 1.09 ERA, 33 IP, 164/228/250, .213 BABIP
Justin Verlander (2): Sept, 1.09 ERA, 33 IP, 143/185/205, .242 BABIP
Zack Wheeler: August, 1.12 ERA, 40 IP, 193/245/271, .268 BABIP

Jon Lester: June, 1.12 ERA, 32 IP, 155/231/245, .170 BABIP
Jack Flaherty: August, 1.12 ERA, 32 IP, 136/212/223, .190 BABIP
Mike Foltynewicz: June, 1.12 ERA, 24 IP, 123/211/185, .176 BABIP
Trevor Williams: August, 1.16 ERA, 31 IP, 204/256/310, .225 BABIP
Jose Urena: Sept, 1.20 ERA, 30 IP, 183/254/279, .198 BABIP
Ross Stripling: May, 1.20 ERA, 30 IP, 216/243/270, .333 BABIP

Wheeler's second lowest ERA in a month with 4+ starts is 3.13 in July, less than ideal for a Cy Young case.
   5. Adam Starblind Posted: February 09, 2019 at 07:44 PM (#5814003)
I guess you have the choice of chopping the second half into chunks of 4 starts or not chopping the second half into chunks of four starts and ignoring some of the chunks or not.
   6. depletion Posted: February 09, 2019 at 07:56 PM (#5814004)
I'm sorry but "has great stuff" has been the most meaningless expression, particularly when it comes to Mets pitchers. Remember Randy Tate? Tom Seaver loved his stuff. Oliver Perez? He had the greatest stuff I've ever seen. When he was on the ball just bent, like a Bugs Bunny cartoon. I'm glad Zack had a promising half year, but, truly, that's all it is - a promising half year.
   7. bbmck Posted: February 09, 2019 at 08:51 PM (#5814006)
Months are the easiest way to find "great stuff" by arbitrary parameters, if you prefer the actual 2nd half of the season as opposed to after the all-star game, min 10 starts, lowest ERA:

1.10 - Chris Sale 49 IP, 84 K, 0.71 WHIP
1.36 - Blake Snell 79.1 IP, 108 K, 0.89 WHIP
1.56 - Jacob deGrom 109.2 IP, 135 K, 0.81 WHIP
1.87 - Trevor Bauer 57.2 IP, 71 K, 1.13 WHIP
2.15 - Trevor Williams 83.2 IP, 62 K, 1.16 WHIP

2.21 - Zack Wheeler 93.2 IP, 93 K, 0.93 WHIP
2.26 - Aaron Nola 103.1 IP, 117 K, 0.94 WHIP
2.30 - Walker Buehler 78.1 IP, 94 K, 0.93 WHIP
2.41 - German Marquez 108.1 IP, 137 K, 0.92 WHIP
2.42 - Kyle Freeland 104 IP, 92 K, 1.27 WHIP
2.45 - Carlos Carrasco 95.1 IP, 125 K, 1.06 WHIP

Oops above, it's Ryne Stanek not Ryan but he has 4.13 ERA in 2nd half starts. 2nd half of the previous season for Cy Young winners:

1.57 - Clayton Kershaw 2014, 114.2 IP, 114 K, 0.86 WHIP
2.41 - Corey Kluber 2017, 101 IP, 113 K, 1.07 WHIP
2.61 - Max Scherzer 2017, 113.2 IP, 136 K, 0.98 WHIP
3.03 - Jake Arrieta 2015, 92 IP, 93 K, 0.98 WHIP
3.08 - Dallas Keuchel 2015, 96.1 IP, 63 K, 1.26 WHIP

3.28 - Blake Snell 2018, 82.1 IP, 79 K, 1.15 WHIP
3.49 - Rick Porcello 2016, 77.1 IP, 74 K, 1.31 WHIP
3.51 - Jacob deGrom 2018, 97.1 IP, 114 K, 1.15 WHIP
3.52 - Corey Kluber 2014, 71.2 IP, 63 K, 1.23 WHIP
3.85 - Max Scherzer 2016, 110 IP, 137 K, 1.07 WHIP
   8. Adam Starblind Posted: February 09, 2019 at 09:07 PM (#5814009)
There is very little RTFA going on in this thread. The ONLY person who said Wheeler might win Cy Young is Noah Syndergaard. I'm not sure any of these numbers would give Syndergaard second thoughts about complimenting his teammate.
   9. bbmck Posted: February 09, 2019 at 09:22 PM (#5814011)
I read the article, checked who else has shown a period of dominance by arbitrary parameters, posted that. Then posted who else had an excellent 2nd half.

I'm looking forward to your revamp of BBTF where you complain that people don't post what you think they should about an article and then get cranky.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: February 09, 2019 at 11:24 PM (#5814023)
I didn't read the article since the headline was essentially absurd on its face. As others have noted, "stuff" is meaningless, especially coming from some guy who writes for the NY Post, and a good half is meaningless in terms of predicting the future. But sure, I'll blame whoever put that headline on it ... while noting the headline here is not the headline I see at the Post which is even sillier "Wheeler won't shy away from Cy Young _expectations_"?

But y'know, I'd a thought the point of my post was obvious enough and therefore far from "ridiculous" -- given Wheeler's history, all of which matters, spotlighting him as a potential CYA winner is rather ... ummm ... ridiculous. It could happen but a far more realistic hope is "hopefully Wheeler stays healthy and repeats 2018." And of course only after that do you start to give much thought to keeping him long-term ... something the author of the piece seems to think the Mets need to act on quickly.

If the headline was "Zack Wheeler is a talented pitcher" or "Maybe 2018 will be Wheeler's breakout ... or maybe not" or "Wheeler has probably 3rd-best chance at CYA ... on the Mets!" or "Wheeler probably has better CYA chance than Reynaldo Lopez, almost certainly better than Mike Foltynewicz ... and who is Trevor Williams?" then I would not have commented.

But I'll agree -- if Wheeler can repeat the best 11 start stretch of his career 3 times in 2019, he's a shoo-in for the CYA. If he can repeat that stretch just twice, he'll probably win it unless he misses the remaining starts or really, really stinks. If Javy Baez can repeat his June-July 3 times --- 325/354/582, 54 doubles, 27 HR, 117 RBI, 36 SB -- I kinda like his MVP chances.
   11. bbmck Posted: February 10, 2019 at 12:20 AM (#5814032)
Debut since 1955 (Koufax), 19 pitchers had their first season of 4+ pitching WAR season at Age 28 and had 5+ pitching WAR at 28. Rounding up Wheeler's 3.9 for his great 2nd half and because 4 and 4 returned too many results. Stephen Strasburg follows it up with 2.6 pitching WAR in 2018, the next most recent were Age 28 in 2014 so going with next 4 years ranked by pitching WAR:

24.2 - Corey Kluber 855.2 IP, 150 ERA+, 62 OPS+, Cy 1-3-3-9
19.0 - Teddy Higuera 794.1 IP, 123 ERA+, 75 OPS+, Cy 6
16.9 - Jake Arrieta 767.1 IP, 137 ERA+, 71 OPS+, Cy 1-9
16.8 - Larry Jackson 1020.1 IP, 121 ERA+, 83 OPS+
14.8 - Charlie Leibrandt 875.2 IP, 109 ERA+, 95 OPS+
13.3 - Bob Veale 982.2 IP, 117 ERA+, 80 OPS+

12.7 - Darryl Kile 880.2 IP, 107 ERA+, 96 OPS+, Cy 5
11.5 - Sonny Siebert 809.2 IP, 114 ERA+, 85 OPS+
11.1 - Livan Hernandez 921.2 IP, 103 ERA+, 106 OPS+
10.3 - Dave Goltz 719.1 IP, 107 ERA+, 102 OPS+
9.8 - Turk Farrell 761.2 IP, 94 ERA+, 103 OPS+
4.9 - Tim Wakefield 769 IP, 102 ERA+, 98 OPS+

4.4 - Erik Bedard 293.1 IP, 121 ERA+, 84 OPS+
2.5 - Sid Monge 304.2 IP, 101 ERA+, 103 OPS+
1.1 - Ray Culp 397.2 IP, 92 ERA+, 101 OPS+
1.0 - Roger Nelson 148.2 IP, 105 ERA+, 81 OPS+
0.4 - Carl Pavano 145.2 IP, 86 ERA+, 123 OPS+
-1.0 - Tom Murphy 348.1 IP, 92 ERA+, 116 OPS+

Arrieta really shows his potential in a stretch of 11 games in June and July: 1.73 ERA, 72.2 IP, 162/217/217, .231 BABIP and then puts it together for a full season and wins the Cy Young at 29. Kluber wins the Cy with his breakout Age 28 season and again at 31.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:02 AM (#5814039)
Oh, I was wondering who was going to be the healthy one on the staff and have the Cy Young quality season. That means Noah, Jason and Matz are headed for the DL....err, IL.
   13. Adam Starblind Posted: February 10, 2019 at 09:18 AM (#5814048)

I didn't read the article since the headline was essentially absurd on its face.


It's not even the real headline. Sorry you wasted your time, Walt.
   14. Adam Starblind Posted: February 10, 2019 at 09:20 AM (#5814049)
But I'll agree -- if Wheeler can repeat the best 11 start stretch of his career 3 times in 2019, he's a shoo-in for the CYA. If he can repeat that stretch just twice, he'll probably win it unless he misses the remaining starts or really, really stinks. If Javy Baez can repeat his June-July 3 times --- 325/354/582, 54 doubles, 27 HR, 117 RBI, 36 SB -- I kinda like his MVP chances.


Don't tell me, tell Syndergaard. He'll feel so owned.
   15. bobm Posted: February 10, 2019 at 10:45 AM (#5814067)
[11] Total WAR from age 29-32, 1st 4 WAR season and 4+ both @ age 28:


                                                    
Player               WAR From   To   Age     IP ERA+
Mickey Lolich       25.8 1970 1973 29-32 1284.2  113
Corey Kluber        24.2 2015 2018 29-32  855.2  150
Teddy Higuera       19.0 1987 1990 29-32  794.1  123
Phil Niekro         17.2 1968 1971 29-32 1039.1  119
Jake Arrieta        16.9 2015 2018 29-32  767.1  137
Larry Jackson       16.8 1960 1963 29-32 1020.1  121
Charlie Leibrandt   14.8 1986 1989 29-32  875.2  109
Tom Candiotti       14.1 1987 1990 29-32  826.1  112
Bob Veale           13.3 1965 1968 29-32  982.2  117
Darryl Kile         12.7 1998 2001 29-32  880.2  107
Sonny Siebert       11.5 1966 1969 29-32  809.2  114
Livan Hernandez     11.1 2004 2007 29-32  921.2  103
Dave Goltz          10.3 1978 1981 29-32  719.1  107
Ted Lilly            9.9 2005 2008 29-32  719.2  105
Turk Farrell         9.8 1963 1966 29-32  761.2   94
Kelvim Escobar       9.7 2005 2007 29-31  444.2  130
Doug Davis           9.3 2005 2008 29-32  764.2  105
Al Fitzmorris        6.7 1975 1978 29-32  641.1  100
Jack Sanford         6.6 1958 1961 29-32  845.0   97
Gil Meche            6.1 2008 2010 29-31  401.0   94
Steve Renko          6.0 1974 1977 29-32  679.0   97
Dave Giusti          5.8 1969 1972 29-32  363.1  122
Tim Wakefield        4.9 1996 1999 29-32  769.0  102
Bob Ojeda            4.9 1987 1990 29-32  546.2  102
Erik Bedard          4.4 2008 2011 29-32  293.1  121
Mike Sirotka         4.0 2000 2000 29-29  197.0  133
Jim Beattie          3.9 1984 1986 29-31  321.2   88
Tim Burke            3.8 1988 1991 29-32  343.1  121
Ken Sanders          3.8 1971 1974 29-32  321.0  111
Gary Lavelle         3.7 1978 1981 29-32  360.0  109
Octavio Dotel        3.4 2003 2006 29-32  197.2  127
Jose Guzman          3.4 1992 1994 29-31  434.2   93
Shaun Marcum         3.3 2011 2013 29-31  403.0  100
Stephen Strasburg    2.6 2018 2018 29-29  130.0  114
Sid Monge            2.5 1980 1983 29-32  304.2  101
Brian Anderson       2.2 2001 2004 29-32  653.0   97
Zack Britton         1.7 2017 2018 29-30   78.0  145
Rodrigo Lopez        1.6 2005 2007 29-31  477.2   86
Ray Culp             1.1 1971 1973 29-31  397.2   92
Roger Nelson         1.0 1973 1976 29-32  148.2  105
Phil Hughes          0.7 2015 2018 29-32  300.2   81
Doug Bair            0.6 1979 1982 29-32  325.2   94
Bill Campbell        0.5 1978 1981 29-32  195.0  105
Carl Pavano          0.4 2005 2008 29-32  145.2   86
Gabe White           0.3 2001 2004 29-32  228.1   89
Ryan Drese          -0.7 2005 2006 29-30  138.0   76
Mark Davis          -0.7 1990 1993 29-32  254.0   78
Tom Murphy          -1.0 1975 1978 29-32  348.1   92
Lerrin LaGrow       -1.7 1978 1980 29-31  181.2   84

   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:30 PM (#5814151)
I haven't RTFA but it seems like a pretty standard throwaway spring training article. I wouldn't *project* Wheeler to win the CYA, but it wouldn't shock me if he did -- he's a former top-10 draft pick, top-10 prospect who looked brilliant at times last season. I mean, if Rick Porcello can win one...
   17. formerly dp Posted: February 10, 2019 at 04:53 PM (#5814159)
I don't think the article does a good job contextualizing Wheeler's season. It isn't about his best 11 starts, or his second half. Really from June on, he was consistently good-great, and those of us who have been waiting for this Wheeler to show up since he arrived in the majors kept waiting for him to regress. 20 starts, from June 1 to Sept 17: 132 IP, 95 H, 32 BB, 126 K, 2.52 ERA and 7 HR allowed. Opposing hitters went .203/.271/.278 against him. He was more efficient, allowing him to work deeper into games (Old Wheeler would have decent starts here and there, but throw so many pitches that he was gassed by the 5th). You can read that sustained level of success in 2018 as a former top prospect beset by injuries finally putting things together, and I don't think that's a crazy interpretation. It's of course possible that Wheeler regresses majorly in 2019, gets hurt, whatever. But trying to frame this as only one 11-start stretch doesn't quite capture why Wheeler's 2018 gives cause for hope. Even his one bad start in June--6 ER--he still managed to last almost 6 innings. In the other 5 starts, he gave up a total of 8 R and pitched 32 innings.
   18. bbmck Posted: February 10, 2019 at 05:30 PM (#5814167)
Age and career pitching WAR from the season before winning their first Cy Young and 2019 Cy Young candidates who are the closest match:

Age 22, Clayton Kershaw 11.8 WAR: Brad Keller 3.5, Jack Flaherty 2.3
Age 23, Felix Hernandez 17.9 WAR: German Marquez 8.1, Roberto Osuna 6.8
Age 23, Tim Lincecum 2.3 WAR: Seranthony Dominguez 2.4, Victor Arano 2.5, Alex Reyes 2.5
Age 24, Zack Greinke 12.3 WAR: Luis Severino 11.8, Lance McCullers Jr. 6.1
Age 24, Blake Snell 1.8 WAR: Zach Eflin 1.8, Ryan Borucki 1.7

Age 25, Roy Halladay 10.5 WAR: Michael Fulmer 9.7, Kyle Freeland 11.7, Aaron Sanchez 9.3
Age 25, David Price 9.3 WAR: Aaron Sanchez 9.3, Blake Snell 9.2
Age 26, Rick Porcello 11.1 WAR: Carlos Martinez 13.6, Jameson Taillon 8.5
Age 26, Dallas Keuchel 4.6 WAR: Corey Knebel 4.4, Vince Velasquez 4.2
Age 27, Justin Verlander 19.7 WAR: Gerrit Cole 16.7, Julio Teheran 16.7

Age 27, Max Scherzer 11.7 WAR: Kevin Gausman 11.4, Alex Wood 12.5
Age 27, Corey Kluber 1.1 WAR: Derek Law 1.1, Hansel Robles 1.2, Juan Minaya 1.2, Emilio Pagan 1, Drew VerHagen 1, Nick Wittgren 1
Age 28, Jake Arrieta 6.2 WAR: Mike Montgomery 6.1, Zack Wheeler 6.4
Age 29, Jacob deGrom 16.1 WAR: Masahiro Tanaka 15.6, Danny Duffy 14.2
Age 36, RA Dickey 8 WAR: Oliver Perez 9.7, Blaine Boyer -1.6
   19. cardsfanboy Posted: February 10, 2019 at 11:39 PM (#5814223)
Outside of the headline, the fact is that Wheeler at age 28 last season put up a 111 era+. where his era and his fip aligned... assuming any health, he's a good bet to be a plus pitcher for the season.

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