Published on June 26th, 2013 | by Josh Chapdelaine0
Mets Marketing of Wheeler is Irresponsible
The New York Mets have launched a marketing campaign for Zack Wheeler’s home debut his Sunday against the Washington Nationals titled “Wheelz Up”. While the organization has done an effective job in turning Matt Harvey’s home outings into “Harvey Day”, they’re similarly looking to turn the newly debuted pitcher’s starts into something similar. The same pitcher who walked five in his major league debut before allowing four earned runs during his second outing against the fourth worst offense in the major leagues.
It’s not to say that Wheeler won’t be a good pitcher -It’s impossible to predict a prospect’s value this early- but to hype the Georgia native in this manner can be disastrous. If Wheeler happens to perform well this Sunday the promotion will go unnoticed and likely continue; However, a bad outing will quickly bring to light how charging $45 for a t-shirt and ticket for a player who has yet to make his home debut could be detrimental. It’s unnecessary pressure to perform from the fans, and as Mets Police and MetsBlog’s Michael Baron have both cited, Wheeler is no Matt Harvey and it’s the fans who are placing the unrealistic expectations on the prospect.
When one goes beyond the actual promotion -Hyping Zack Wheeler as a future ace- one could see why this could be detrimental as well. Jon Niese signed an extension through 2018 because he proved to be consistently effective at the major league level. While he hasn’t performed to a high level this year due to injuries which have hampered his performance, he has historically struck out over seven batters per nine, hardly a poor metric. While Wheeler certainly has the higher ceiling than Niese, the promotion comes across as bush league and disrespectful to other players who have performed consistently with the organization for several years. Ultimately, the organization is hyping both Harvey and Wheeler to be saviors of the franchise, and while they may be important pieces for years to come, it takes 25 men to win a championship. This isn’t Seattle where Felix Hernandez has been dominant for over five years. This is New York, where the club hasn’t seen a winning record since opening Citi Field in 2009, and needs more than two pitchers to help snap that trend.
Photo Credit: Michael Baron