Phillies: 5 free agent starting pitchers they could sign
Zack Wheeler is like Odorizzi in that it took him a while to find sturdy footing in the big leagues, but he made his mark on the league last season.
A first-round pick with a simply gifted right arm, Wheeler hovered around triple digits this year with a simple delivery that kept him off the IL this season. He started as the extra arm in the once-amazing rotation of Harvey-Thor-Matz-Degrom, but has since garnered success in his own right.
Wheeler throws everything hard and with big-time bite, giving him ace-like potential. His fastball will rest in the 96-99 range, along with a solid split, a slider, and a change-up that still gets over 90 on the gun.
His injury issues, including a Tommy John Surgery, are not quite behind him but Wheeler has proved over the past two years that he is a viable option towards the top of any rotation when healthy. He’s still only 30 next season and with semi-limited innings, the Phillies can offer him a longer deal with mutual buyout if the injury problems resurface.
Wheeler’s combination of ridiculous stuff and a newfound ability to stay out of the trainer’s room make him an interesting signing, but if it pays off the Phillies might have two potential aces in their rotation. The only downside to a guy like Wheeler is that when hitters make contact, the ball flies, especially in Citizens Bank Park. But considering the uptick in the value of guys that can spin the baseball and chuck it with velocity, the Phils certainly won’t be the only suitor for Wheeler.