Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler pitches during the first inning against the Phillies on Sept. 17, 2018, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.

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Zack Wheeler: 'Want To Hopefully Be In That Cy Young Talk'

Mets Pitcher Chats With Ed Coleman

February 20, 2019 - 4:43 pm
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By WFAN.com

After struggling in the first half, Zach Wheeler was sensational in the second half of the 2018 season. The Mets right-hander is looking to pick up where he left off, which means not changing much.

"I'm not really changing all that much," Wheeler told Ed Coleman Wednesday from spring training. "It's looking back at what I did right in the second half, watching some video and stuff like that...picking up things mechanically I can carry over to this year." 

Wheeler ended up finishing the 2018 season with a 12-7 record and a 3.31 ERA in 29 starts. What was the main difference for Wheeler in turning things around? 

"It all started getting my arm up, getting it ready to throw," Wheeler said. Once I got that honed in and consistent, it made everything else better. Curveball, slider, I added the split. That was a big thing for me last year. Once I got it consistent, it allowed my fastball to come out a little better. It gained a mile per hour or something like that. Getting that release point consistent is the biggest key for me." 

Thr 28-year-old added the splitter last year, which changed his game. 

"It was a big help. My changeup has always been ok. That actually got a lot better last year. I was also mixing in the split," Wheeler said. "It's harder than my changeup. That was a big help. I was able to throw it right on right. It gives me a different look to right-handers." 

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It helps when the guy pitching ahead of him wins a Cy Young. Jacob deGrom put up a historic 2018 season that Wheeler tried to emulate. In fact, deGrom helped Wheeler improve his game. 

"He goes out there and throws a gem every time. You go out there and try and beat that," Wheeler said. "I think watching him and his bullpens really helped me out last year. He hounds glove-side fastballs and I sort of took that to my bullpens and concentrated on it and I think that's what helped me with command. He did a lot for me last year.

"I wanna do that all year and hopefully be in that Cy Young talk end of the year." 

If the Mets get the usual deGrom and second-half Wheeler, this starting rotation will be very dangerous. 

You can hear the entire chat between Wheeler and Eddie C. above.