Zack Wheeler may have struggled through his first post-Tommy John surgery season, but what he showed was enough to convince arbitors that he deserves $1.9 million in 2018. Wheeler won his arbitration case Thursday, being awarded a raise of $800,000 for the upcoming season.
The Mets previously offered him $1.5 million. He was the only player they failed to come to terms with this season.
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After undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missing two seasons to rehab his elbow, Wheeler returned in 2017 and was expected to help anchor the rotation. But there were concerns about his elbow from the start. Wheeler showed flashes of the electric stuff that made him such an exciting prospect during his first two big league season in 2013 and 2014.
Before being shut down, Wheeler had not been able to pitch well consistently. Over his final nine starts, he pitched to a 0-5 record and a 6.70 ERA. During that stretch, opposing batters held a .978 OPS.
For the season, Wheeler posted a 5.21 ERA and a 1.587 WHIP. One good thing that Wheeler had going for him was his 8.4 K/9 ratio. He notched 81 strikeouts over 86 innings. Over his final six starts, his K/9 was 9.7 and looks as though it could have gone up.
His ability to stay healthy throughout parts of the 2018 season might even be a huge question mark as well.
The Mets do expect Wheeler to begin the season in the starting rotation, but only time will tell how healthy Wheeler really is and if he can get back on track.
Wheeler pitched to a 3.50 ERA over his first 49 starts between 2013 and 2014. Hopefully he can spend most of the season healthy and can repeat his numbers from his first few seasons. If that happens, his 2018 season will be a success and another step in the right direction for Wheeler.
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