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Thread: The Torrance Tornado- Jason Wheeler

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    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    The Torrance Tornado- Jason Wheeler

    When the idea of adopt a Prospect came up my first choice was Jason Wheeler for several reasons. First he is a impressive young man to talk to, second my wife thought he was a nice boy, third he met Harmon Killebrew and my son is named for Harmon, and fourth he is a member of the Snappers. So a bit about the 6 foot 8 inch, 265 pound left handed throwing young man from Torrance, California.

    Jason comes from a family of athletes, mom and dad both played college basketball and his older brother Ryan plays in the Diamondbacks organization and is currently in AAA with the Reno Aces. So Jason has the pedigree. Jason played college ball at Loyola Marymount University, as did his Snapper team mate Matt Koch, and some Twins fans may have seen him play for the St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League where he was named 2010 Pitcher of the Year with a 8 and 1 record, 1.35 ERA and 74 strike outs. He was 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA his last year with the Lions before the Twins drafted him in the 8th round in 2011. (That may make him a qualify him as one of us. I have to check the rules.)

    Jason was a Junior at LMU when he left for the Twins but will graduate this fall with a degree in business law. If the whole pitching in the Majors and making a lot of cash thing doesn't work out he might end up a sports agent, we will try not to hold that against him on this blog.
    With three games started under his belt at Beloit this year Jason is 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 10 K's and 5 walks in 15 innings. The nom de plume I threw out has nothing to do with his velocity or style of pitching, I just have a soft spot in my heart for baseball of the 1920's-1930's when such names where common place. Depending on the wacky southern Wisconsin weather Jason should take the mound in the next couple of days against Bowling Green. I have yet to see him pitch but it looks like he charts a good game, once he has some gloves to keep those California fingers warm.

    Good luck Jason, we will be keeping a eye on you.



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    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    April 25th-Start

    I am going to write about a oddity for a Twins fan, good starting pitching. Not awesome or eyepopping, but good. Wednesday Jason Wheeler picked up his second victory Wednesday with six innings of 10 hit (8 singles-2 doubles), 2 K, 0 BB and 3 earned run pitching. Wheeler was helped by the GIDP and picked off a runner in order to keep more from crossing the plate. The Snappers held it close until the sixth when they put three runs in breaking the 3 to 3 tie. Wheeler stats sit at 21 innings, 1.38 WHIP (24 hits and 5 walks), 12 strikeouts, and 3.00 ERA.

    The Beloit record sits at 10-10 and have won a couple in a row, with Sano not contributing.
    Last edited by MWLFan; 04-27-2012 at 11:40 AM.

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    Mr Wheeler visiting some Beloit Kindergartners. Looks kind of cramped in that chair for a 6'8: 260 plus guy.


    Wheeler with the kids 2.jpgWheeler with the kids.jpgWheeler w kids 3.jpg

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    April goes out like a Lion as far as Mr. Wheeler is concerned and he controlled the Dayton Dragons for 6 innings. 2 Hits, 1 walk and 7 k's. 5 of the strikeouts were of the swinging variety. He faced 20 batters in those six innings, helped out by his defense a couple of times however for the most part Big Jason was impressive and he owned this one. His record improves to 3 wins and no losses, 2.33 era, 1.19 WHIP, 19 k's, 6 BB, opponents are batting .238 against him. Now that April is done where does Jason Wheeler fit in the hierarchy of Twins Organization of Starting pitchers? Where will Seth Stohs put him on his Minor League pitchers of the month? How long will the college pitcher stay at Low A Ball?
    Last edited by MWLFan; 04-30-2012 at 03:12 PM.

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    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    Another start and another win for Jason Wheeler. The Wisconsin weather today was stormy, humid and cloudy. Considering the downpours spreading across the southern part of the state the question was whether this game would get in and the Snappers warm run would be interupted by tha rain. Fortunatly the skies did not open up on Pohlman Field and the starter with the best record on the team was able to face the Kane County Cougars.

    Wheeler pushed the Snappers 4 games over .500 with another excellent outing in Low A Ball. The righty got 6 innings in with 5 hits, 1 walk, 4 strikes (2 swinging.) and one HBP. He dropped his ERA to 1.91 and his record to 4-0. He recorded 18 outs, 8 in the air, 6 on the ground and 4 K's. The Snappers supported his efforts with 5 runs highlighted by home runs by Tyler Grimes and the suddenly hot Rory Rhodes. Eddie Rosario was 2 for 4 with his 11th double, former Gopher Kyle Knudsen had his first action of the year going zero for three with 2 strikeouts.

    Bart Carter put in a inning and two thirds, giving up 2 runs and striking out three. Then Micheal Tonkin finished the game with a inning and a third also recording three strike outs for the save.

    Wheeler is now leading the league in wins, with 6 other pitchers. He is however the only one not to have a loss on his record so far. How WHIP stands at 1.15. He hasn't given up a run in 12 innings. He will get a chance to run this streak to lucky number 13 later this week.
    Last edited by MWLFan; 05-06-2012 at 09:36 PM.

  6. #6
    Wheeler has been impressive......how hard does he throw?? Any reports on that.

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    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    Here is a scouting report from 2011 that I found on line.

    http://www.bbprospectreport.com/2011...wheeler-update

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    Jason Wheeler was named Midwest Pitcher of the Week for the Week of April 30th to May 6th. 2 wins in 2 starts, no runs allowed in 12 innings, 11 strike outs and 2 walks and 7 hits.

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    I apologize for the tardiness of this update, but life sometimes gets in the way of baseball. So since we last left young Mr. Wheeler he was the hottest thing going on the Beloit mound, MWL Pitcher of the Week, 4 wins no losses and a 1.91 ERA. Then came the bottom of the 1st last Friday. Five runs, Five hits, one walk and a error on Wang-Wei Lin contributed his worst half inning of the year. Now he settled down after that making it to the 6th inning and only goving up one more run, but the Sanppers could not overcome that deficit and lost 6-2. This was Wheelers first loss of the year and raised his ERA up to 2.84. Now we get to see how he rebounds from what was a tough, tough inning and can he regain that touch he had in April against Quad Cities later this week.

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    Back on track. Jason Wheeler rebounded from his bad first inning on Friday the 18th by only giving up 3 runs in his next 11 innings. His last start on Wednesday had another 1st inning hiccup, a couple of hits and a run, but then he settled in again giving up another run a couple of innings later but striking out 5 (4 swinging), walking Zero, allowing 5 more hits and chucking one wild pitch. His control looks pretty good and he is getting some swings and misses which is encouraging from a system persepective. Nice to see him missing some bats. His ERA sits at 2.86 for the season with 31 strike outs and only 9 walks in 44 innings.. The hits are starting to pile up a bit the last couple of games, with 9 and 7 respectively in both of them. He has yet to give up a long ball, but he has been hurt by some stinging doubles and a triple followed by line drive singles. That he has not compounded these by putting guys on base by walks is a real positive sign, and he has been regularly working into the 6th inning. Overall he continues to be one os the stalwarts of a very good Snappers rotation which, though Sano and Rosario get the press, is reason number one that the Snappers lead the division. Good Pitching solves a lot of problems.

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    Ho Hum-Another night and another Quality Start for Jason Wheeler. 7 innings pitched, 2 runs, 5 K's (All swinging), one walk and 8 hits and another runner picked off. Wheeler now has pitched 51 innings, struck out 36,walked 10, 55 hits, 0 homeruns, 2.82 ERA, 1.27 WHIP. Lefties are hitting .275 off of him in a small sample size, while righties are geting 70% more at bats against him with a .277 avearge. Wheeler has a 1.47 GO/AO rate overall. The guy does get a lot of ground balls. Almost June in Beloit and Wheeler is 5-1, in the top ten for the league in wins and innings. Top 20 in ERA. Snappers are currently in 2nd place, 1 game behind the hated Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Next up for Mr. Wheeler will be a game in Kane County against the Cougars. My family is trying to decide between a day at a Waterpark in the Dells or heading to Kane County. If I leave it up to the kids my guess is it will be the waterpark. 88 degrees and humidity, a waterpark sounds about right actually.

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    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    Wow, No HRs in 51 IP! His K rate isn't very good and I'd like to see him add some velocity because he certainly has the frame for it. A promotion could be good for him, but maybe they are holding back so he gains a few mph on his fastball.

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    Jason Wheeler has improved to 6-1 this year after Sunday's game against the Kane County Cougars. He put in 8 innings and 5 hits, including his first home run given up this year, his ERA stands at 2.75. He struck out 5 and walked just 1. His WHIP is dropping and sits at 1.20 currently and he is still getting a good amount of flyballs. Seth Stohs in his updated prospect list now has Jason at number 30 on the list, ahead of his rotation mates Tim Shibuya and Steven Gruber. Jason is making a run at a spot on the MWL All-Star Team, which would be great for him. Unless he is in Fort Meyers at the time pitching for the Miracle. Either way it is all positive right now for the big guy.

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    Ok Twins Territory Train participants. Jason Wheeler pitches tonight. I am hoping to see some posts on how he does and what impressions you have of him. Hopefully it will be a good night against the hated River Bandits. ( I am turning my Johan Santana and Joe Mauer River Bandits bobbleheads away from the screen while writing this.) So I will be out of town camping with 16 Boy Scouts and 3 Leaders away from any electronic devices. I am jealous of your time in the QC.

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    It has been a busy couple of weeks for the Snappers and Jason Wheeler. Since my last post Wheeler has started 2 games and with similar stats and different results. June 1st, in front of the Twins Territory Train crowd in Quad Cities he gave up 5 earned runs on 7 hits, 5 K's and the oddity of 4 walks. Wheeler has been walking a little over 1 a game going into that contest and that night could not find the plate with as much regularity. The Snapper offense bailed him out however for the win. Seth Stohs had these observations from watching the game at beautiful Modern Woodman Park, "The tall, left-hander didn’t throw hard, but he was very cool on the mound. His fastball touched 89-90 ph. He had a pretty OK changeup, and a good curveball in the upper 70s."
    This improved his record to 7-1.

    Next he was one of 7 Snappers named to the Midwest League All Star game to be played at the home of the Kane County Cougars on June 19th. This is wonderful for all these guys and a great experience.

    Then Wednesday of this week he took the mound against the Burlington Bees and gave up another 5 runs, 3 earned in 5 innings pitched. Walks went down to 2 and K's were 4 with hits at 9. One of those hits was the third home run he has given up this year, all three coming in the last three games. Jason has been hittable this year with 76 hits in 66 inning, but he has been able to succeed by holding down walks and not allowing the ball to leave the confines of the stadium. If this pattern hold the second part of 2012 will not be pretty for our young man from California. Gary Lucas and him need to find out what has derailed him the last few outings and correct it. The curve right now is not in his favor, but baseball is a game that encourages and rewards patience due to its constant fluctuations. It is game not built to ADHD world we currently embrace, but one we could learn a lot from.

    Jason will next take the mound this weekend against the 1st place Timber Rattlers up in Appleton. Important game for the boys to hold onto a playoff spot as the Cougars are coming up behind them.

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    Wheeler on the mound tonight. I will get my first chance to see him pitch live. Looking forward to it. Go Snappers.

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    I caught my first Jason Wheeler game the other night against the Burlington Bees. I wish I had caught an earlier game. I would rather not relive the entire game, but instead let me give some impressions of Wheeler. Big bodied, Good motions. Mechanics look good for a guy in Low A and he has a good prescence on the mound. He needs to keep the ball down and work the plate as his stuff is not over powering. He threw a couple of nasty off speed pitches that got the Bees hitters twisted around trying to make contact. But his fastball is nothing special at this point. We are not talking Jamie Moyer here and I did not have a radar gun packed in my families travel gear, but it might keep the boys occupied in the back seat if I did get one, but I did not get the feeling I was seeing Randy Johnson out there.

    When the ball came up in the first inning he got spanked a couple of times, in the 3rd-4th-5th innings he was more consistent in working down in the zone and got the balls rolling into the infield. This was not always good as the Snappers decided tonight would be hacky sack night on the infield. But Wheeler did not lose composure and worked through the lack of support to make it to the bottom of the 5th. Not to say he was not emotional, but is was more Radke and less Garza. I didn't concentrate fully on the game with hot dogs, sodas, bathroom breaks, ice cream and the such to be dealt with but I did see enough to think that Wheeler has some promise. A lefty that could be a ground ball machine with an off speed out pitch who does not walk a lot of people, back of the rotation or BP at this point is where I see him in the Twins plans. I like his make up more then his arm after this evening. In speaking with him briefly he seems like a smart kid too that could learn to pitch and think. (Not Nuke LaLoosh out there.) If he could tack a few MPH on that fastball then we could have something, he has the frame to put some more accelaration behind the ball.


    Last night he pitched in the Midwest League All Star blow out in Kane County. The final was East a lot and West not a lot. ( I think the East just scored again this morning.) The Snappers are in the West. Good news is the Snappers pitchers did not add the carnage of the night. Wheeler faced two batters and no surprise got both to ground out. He threw 7 pitches and 5 were strikes. Good outing on what must have been an exciting night for him. I wonder how much longer he will be at Beloit. He might be better served moving up to Fort Meyers within the month unless the Twins like the work Gary Lucas does down here.

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    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    Since I last wrote about Jason he has had some good times and some bad. June 25th against Kane County-good. 5 innings pitched, 2 runs neither earned, 3 strike outs and 2 walks, 4 hits and all the damage happening in the first inning. Jason was able to notch his 8th victory. June 30th, not good. Only 3 innings, shortest outing this year, 7 runs of which 4 were earned. 2 k's and one BB. He gave up a home run which is one of his 5 this year in 16 starts. His GO/AO rate is still 1.44 andt his sinker can still induce those bouncers to his infield, whether the infield catches and throws it on target is the question quite a few times. His WHIP has been rising along with the ERA one sits at 1.40 and the other 3.88.

    Jason has also fallen into a bad trend of giving up early runs. In his last 4 starts he has given up 2 runs in the first inning each game, then in a couple he has followed it with a 3 run second in a couple of the games. Now some of these are on his D, but it is something I noticed in looking back at the last few games. Lets hope he can get through those early innings and move deeper into the game with less of a hole dug.

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    Nice outing for Jason on Friday the 6th as he beat the Lumberkings in Clinton for his 9th win of the Season. He gave up 3 runs, all earned, in 6 innings on 6 hits and 4 walks. That line is a bit of a worry, but he was able to work through the 10 base runners and hold Clinton to the 3 runs. He did not have his pattern on early runs repeat this evening as the runs came in the 4th and 5th Inning. Jason has had a pretty successful half season, it has been up and down a bit however the ups have far outweighed the downs for the big lefty. He has been the stalwart of the Snappers starting staff and has shown the ability to work out of jams created by a suspect infield defense, which for a ground ball pitcher can be the kiss of death. He still has things to work on and improve, but I am starting to wonder when he will get a shot at Fort Meyers. Would love to see him throw again, but having him join the Miracle would not be the overly disappointing.

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    Senior Member Double-A MWLFan's Avatar
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    Ten and Four. Pause and breath deep.There is a starting pitcher in the Organization with 10 wins for one team and his name is Jason Wheeler. Last night the Snappers Ace went 8 innings and gave up 2 runs on 5 runs, striking out 5 and walking one. The sinker was working with 11 groundouts versus 5 flyballs and he picked off a runner. Is it time for the 22 year old to move on up to Fort Meyers? Personally I would love him stay through the Play offs and give the Snappers a strong arm to start a game. But, I also know that we are just way stops on the trail and it is not always in the players best interest to stay. Minor league fans are always conflicted by this set of conflicting priorities.

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