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General  | Professional  | 7/28/2011

Mets snag top prospect Wheeler

Jeff Dahn     
Photo: Perfect Game USA

Former Perfect Game top prospect Zack Wheeler was a key component in the Wednesday night trade that sent six-time MLB All-Star Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets to the San Francisco Giants.

Wheeler, a 21-year-old right-hander, was considered among the top pitching prospects in the Giants’ organization. He has been pitching this season for the San Jose Giants in the High Class A California League, where he was 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 16 starts.

Wheeler was drafted by the Giants with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft right out of East Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga. He was PG’s No. 4-ranked national high school prospect at the time of the draft.

A veteran of 11 PG WWBA championships and three BCS Finals with the East Cobb Braves, Astros and Yankees between 2006 and 2008, and Perfect Game scouts first got a look at the hard-throwing right-hander at the 2006 PG WWBA 15u or 2009 Grads National Championship in Marietta, Ga.

Wheeler also participated in many of PG’s top showcase events, where he performed under the watchful eyes of the national scouting community.

In the summer of 2007, Wheeler attended both the PG Aflac Showcase in San Diego and the PG Southeast Top Prospect Showcase in Marietta. At the conclusion of the Southeast Top, a PG scout filed the following report:

“Young frame, tall and thin, high takeaway, arm works very smooth, accelerates out front, easy velocity, warms up at 88-89 every pitch, more velocity to come, slider flashes sharp, change has potential, high ceiling, good physical tools.

A year later, Wheeler was invited to participate in the prestigious PG National Showcase at the Metrodome in Minneapolis and then was selected to play in the Aflac All-American Classic – now the Perfect Game All-American Classic presented by Rawlings – at the University of San Diego. His fastball was consistently in the low 90s at this stage of his development and it touched 95 at the All-American Classic.

The PG scouting report filed after the National Showcase read:

“(Wheeler) pitched 90-93 topping at 94 with a very lively fastball and little to no effort in the Metrodome. He gets good extension out front and has an excellent breaking ball with a sharp break in the upper 70s. He commands his pitches well and everything looks easy for him on the mound. Wheeler continues to project … and he is already one of the top 2009 RHP in the country.”

Click the link below to view videos of Wheeler pitching at the 2007 PG Aflac Showcase, 2007 Southeast Top Prospect Showcase and 2008 PG National Showcase: