Tonawanda News — Zach Wheeler has finally heard the news he’s been waiting to hear all year.
Wheeler, the New York Mets’ top prospect, will get his first taste of Triple-A ball when he takes the mound for the Buffalo Bisons at 1:05 p.m. Sunday against Syracuse at Coca-Cola Field.
“It’s an honor,” Wheeler said as he met with the media in the Bisons dugout Thursday afternoon. “It shows that I’ve done pretty good so far this year. A lot of hard work in the off season trying to develop all my pitches and get my command a little better. Like I said, it’s an honor to be up here.”
Originally San Francisco’s first round pick (sixth overall) in the 2009 draft Wheeler, who is ranked by Baseball America as the No.1 pros
pect in the Mets chain, was part of a package the Giants sent to New York in exchange for outfielder Carolo
s Beltran back in 2011.
Just arriving in Buffalo Thursday afternoon, Wheeler threw his first side session as a Bison in preparation for Sunday’s start.
Starting the season with Double-A Binghamton, the 6-foot-4, 185-pound righty went 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA and an Eastern League-best 117 strikeouts in 19 starts for the Binghamton Mets.
Though Bisons manager Wally Backman hasn’t seen Wheeler up close since spring training, he was impressed by what he saw during their brief time together.
“I think how fluid he was in his delivery,” Backman said. “The ball really came out of his hand so well. It looked like he was (at) an easy 97-98 mph.”
Wheeler threw a complete game, six-hit shutout against Erie on July 14 and retired both that he faced as a member of Team USA during the 2012 All-Star Future’s Game in Kansas City last month.