by, 04-07-2014 at 08:26 AM (291 Views)
This is the 3rd year I have been writing about the big lefty from California. Wheeler has steadily moved through the organization from Beloit to Fort Meyers to now...Fort Meyers? Ok I get it. He doesn't throw as hard as the sexy guys, Meyers, Berrios, Stewart etc. All he does is go out every few days and give you 5 to 6 solid innings. He is the very capable Kenny Jay of organization. Maybe, just maybe this year he could be bringing big Sexy Back to the Miracle and beyond.
Jason has been working on getting his velocity up as reported by Seth Stohs earlier here on Twins Daily, "Jason Wheeler altered some mechanical things last year with the Miracle and is now throwing harder. He’s certainly one to watch." Jason has always been able to work his sinker well and induced plenty of ground outs while limiting home runs. Has struck out 210 versus walking 103 in 304 innings, so he tends not to hurt himself. And I don't believe he has missed a start due to injury in his pro career, which for a Twins pitcher might be deserving of a award of some kind. Plus he is left handed.
He has won 25 games while dropping 10. He has kept his ERA under 4, granted in some fairly pitcher friendly leagues and led the FSL in wins last year. So Jason finds himself back in Fort Meyers. Now I am sure that Fort Meyers in April has a few things going for it compared to New Britian, but I do think the young Mr. Wheeler is deserving of a spot in the Rock Cats rotation fairly soon.
All Jason needs to do is show some improvement with the fastball and keep on doing what he has always done, pitch the ball.
His first test would be opening day for the Miracle. Final line for Jason, 5.2 innings, 5 hits, 2 walks, 4 K's, and 1 earned run in the victory. (3 of the 4 K's were swinging.) 8 Ground outs vs. 4 in the air. And for the fun of it he picked off former teammate Angel Morales, Angel should know that Jason has a fairly decent move to first. Final score Miracle 5 and Jupiter 1.
So good first step towards AA for Jason. He should be starting this week against Charlotte, he needs to keep consistent as the Twins lower minors are looking pretty stacked with arms pushing hard.