Phillies: 3 reasonable expectations for Zack Wheeler
Wheeler Will Win 12-15 Games
While the first two expectations may seem a little on the “down” side of things, this one should no doubt raise your spirits a bit. Like I mentioned before, I wrote an article earlier in the year detailing how I felt Wheeler would be at his best in 2020, and I overall still stand by this take. With a better staff and team around him now that he’s in Philadelphia, 12 to 15 wins should be on the horizon.
Wheeler isn’t Gerrit Cole, he’s not Stephen Strasburg, heck he’s not even Aaron Nola, but he’s still a really good pitcher. Owning one of the hardest thrown fastballs in the MLB, Wheeler is an absolute nightmare for the opposition when it comes to making solid contact.
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In fact, Wheeler led all of baseball last year with the lowest percentage of hard-hit balls (24.8%). A number that no doubt factored into the Phillies decision of handing out a 100+ million dollar contract.
Despite a slightly elevated ERA in 2019, Wheeler benefits from impressing in almost every analytic based metric there is to be had in baseball. He threw hard, he missed a lot of bats, his WHIP was low, he didn’t walk a lot of batters, and his FIP was above average.
With the Phillies defense improving via the acquisition of Didi Gregorius at shortstop, and the offense projected to get better as Bryce Harper settles into his new role as a Philadelphia icon, all the stars are lining up for Wheeler to really flourish in his first year. Throw in the fact that the Phillies new coaching staff is headlined by pitching guru Bryan Price, and a 12-15 win season for Wheeler seems completely attainable.