Astros: Possibly pursue Zack Wheeler, the “other” Mets’ pitcher

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CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 22: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field on June 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - JUNE 22: Zack Wheeler #45 of the New York Mets pitches against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning at Wrigley Field on June 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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There is a lot of talk about the Astros going after Mets’ pitcher Noah Syndergaard. Zack Wheeler could be another viable option from New York.

It’s not even clear if the Mets are willing to trade Syndergaard, and if they do, you know it’s going to cost the Astros some of their top prospects. Zack Wheeler becomes a free agent next season which may make him the more expendable of the two pitchers. Syndergaard won’t become eligible for free agency until 2022.

Therefore, New York may be more willing to listen to offers that would have less of an impact on the Astros pool of Minor League talent. The downside would be that he might end up just being a short-term rental for Houston.

It may surprise a lot of people, but Wheeler’s numbers this season are very similar to Syndergaard’s and actually better in some statistics. Wheeler’s ERA is currently at an unimpressive 4.68, but then again, Syndergaard’s is at 4.69. Although, Wheeler has been more in a zone lately and has a 3.70 ERA over the last four games.

Wheeler has 130 strikeouts so far in 2019, good for fifth in the League, and he has a nice SO/9IP ratio of 9.8. In contrast, Syndergaard is sitting at 101 Ks and a full point lower in SO/9 at 8.6. Wheeler has twice the WAR, a 1.6 as opposed to Syndergaard’s 0.8.

He has quite the repertoire of pitches relying on a sinker, four-seam fastball, slider, split-finger, curve, and a rarely used changeup. His fastball has an excellent velocity sitting right around 97 MPH with a high spin rate to boot. His velocity and spin rates are very close to what you see with Gerrit Cole.

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Wheeler has a lot of the pitching characteristics that Brent Strom and the Astros love and has honed well recently, as in Cole and Charlie Morton. At just $6 million in this year’s contract and the fact it would most likely take less of a hit in prospects, Wheeler might just be the better option.

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