Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE
Top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler has been reassigned back to the New York Mets' minor league camp.
So much for Zack Wheeler breaking camp with the big league club this spring. It was likely from the start of spring that Wheeler would return to Triple-A to start the season, but there were signs that if Wheeler was able to impress during spring training, he'd make the 25-man roster. That won't happen now - barring any injuries - as Wheeler was sent back to minor league camp according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.
Wheeler was solid in his first spring appearance, then he suffered an oblique injury and had to be shut down for a few games. Overall, he's been decent, but the Mets feel Wheeler needs more time in the minors. It would seem a virtual lock that the club calls him up at some point this year, probably after enough time passes to keep his service time clock from ticking.
Check out who else was reassigned: Amazin' Avenue
New York is high on the 22-year old righty. He was rated the 8th best prospect in all of baseball this year by MLB.com. Yet, the Mets are showing restraint in not immediately calling Wheeler up. After all, Wheeler has only pitched six games above the Double-A level. Once he gets more experience at Triple-A, he'll get the call.
Wheeler was drafted 6th overall by the San Francisco Giants in 2009. He was eventually traded to the Mets as part of the deal that sent Carlos Beltran to the Giants. The trade, if Wheeler works out, will heavily favor New York in the end. But Wheeler first has to prove he's ready for a big league assignment.
This spring, Wheeler has just the one appearance still. That's not enough for the Mets to use to evaluate his readiness. They'll want to see if Wheeler can continue what he started last year in Triple-A. In six games with Buffalo, Wheeler posted a 3.27 ERA. In his minor league career, spanning three seasons, Wheeler has posted a 3.48 ERA overall.