4. Zack Wheeler, SP, New York Mets
The San Francisco Giants took Wheeler sixth overall in the 2009 draft and eventually traded him to the Mets in the package for Carlos Beltran at the trade deadline in 2011. The soon-to-be 23-year-old split 2012 with Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo, where he went a combined 12-8 with a 3.26 ERA and 148 strikeouts in 149 innings (25 starts).
At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Wheeler generates easy mid-90s heaters and can occasionally touch the high 90s when he dials it up. His fastball has late movement, and he mixes in a hard-biting slider and average changeup to fool hitters. Easily repeatable mechanics have allowed him to consistently throw hard without much effort. If his changeup can improve even slightly, Wheeler has the ability to be the future ace for the Mets. His body should fill out some, too, giving him more durability as he adds innings to his right arm.
Wheeler was ticketed to start the year down on the farm even before he suffered an oblique injury this spring. However, we'll see him soon; New York is expected to promote him sometime this summer, and they're likening his ascent to the majors to that of Matt Harvey's journey a year ago. New York isn't expected to contend for the division this year, but when Wheeler is ready, they won't hold him down for long. His confidence and poise on the mound in camp show he's not far off from making an impact on the biggest stage.
On to No. 5
Top fantasy baseball prospects - AL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
Top fantasy baseball prospects - NL 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-20 | 21-25
About Keith Hernandez
Keith, an editor with KFFL, joined the team as a Hot off the Wire analyst in 2008 and has been playing fantasy sports since 2005. He is involved in MLB, NFL and NASCAR content. He graduated from the University of California-San Diego in 2005 with a B.A. in Communications and was a four-year starter as a member of the baseball program.
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