SAN FRANCISCO -- Top prospect Zack Wheeler is now a step away from joining Matt Harvey in the big leagues. The Mets on Wednesday promoted Wheeler to Triple-A Buffalo, one day after he struck out a season-high 11 batters in his final start for Double-A Binghamton.
But Wheeler, MLB.com's top-rated Mets prospect, is unlikely to reach the Majors this season. The Mets plan to cap Wheeler at around 150 innings in his third professional season, which should only take him through the end of August.
"I'm anxious to see Zack Wheeler pitch," manager Terry Collins said. "Will it be this year? I would doubt it."
Most scouts believe that Wheeler, 22, possesses a higher ceiling than even Harvey, MLB.com's second-rated Mets prospect entering the year. And Harvey has already electrified the Mets, striking out more batters (18) than anyone in franchise history through the first two starts of a career.
Wheeler, whom the Mets received from the Giants in exchange from Carlos Beltran last July, is certainly enjoying a fine season himself. He completed his tenure at Binghamton with a 10-6 record, a 3.26 ERA and 117 strikeouts in 116 innings, walking 43 batters and allowing 92 hits.
"Everybody's raving about his stuff," Collins said. "It's the same thing with any young pitcher: he's got to learn how to command it."