Coming off six shutout innings his first time out against a good Braves team, however, Wheeler gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings to the White Sox on Tuesday evening. And the Mets believe they know why.
"There's a definite difference in the arm angles on his different pitches," said Mets pitching coach Dan Warthen, who explained why the White Sox oftentimes knew what was coming.
Said Warthen: "They took a lot of good breaking balls, so there's a good chance they recognized it early."
Obviously, pitching in the major leagues comes with a learning curve, and part of it is knowing that big-league hitters are worlds better at everything than minor-leaguers, including spotting tells given by the opposing pitchers.
And my biggest takeaway here is that if Wheeler was indeed tipping his pitches and the White Sox had caught on, it's pretty impressive that he only allowed four hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings. It would be a testament to Wheeler's outstanding stuff that a major-league team couldn't knock him around the yard any better than that, considering they knew what was coming -- again, if they knew.
Wheeler, 23, is 1-0 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.41 WHIP and eight strikeouts in two starts. His problem -- other than tipping pitches -- so far has been control. He has issued eight walks, hit one batter and uncorked a wild pitch in 11 1/3 innings.
Still, most signs point to Wheeler joining Matt Harvey as the club's frontline pitchers of the future. Wheeler just needs to learn to make his delivery look the exact same, regardless of what pitch he's gonna throw.