The road through to major league baseball can take time and for Jason Wheeler it took six years.
Jason Wheeler was called up to the show by the Minnesota Twins on Memorial Day (5/29) from Triple-A, Rochester. He made his debut Tuesday night against the Houston Astros after six seasons of minor league ball.
Wheeler was chosen out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California; just 30 minutes away from his hometown of Torrance, CA. He spent three years at Loyola Marymount with his best season coming in 2011. Jason was 6-4 with a 3.84 ERA in 103 innings pitched after pitching only 45 innings total in his two previous seasons.
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During his time at Loyola, he also participated in summer collegiate baseball in the Northwoods League and CapeCod League. Jason was named Northwoods League Pitcher of the Year as a member of the Saint Cloud River Bats. He led the league with an 8-1 record, 1.35 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 74 strikeouts.
He is the first member of his draft class to reach the MLB.
After his junior season at Loyola Marymount the Twins took him in the eighth round of the 2011 draft. The Twins first round pick Levi Michael and second pick Travis Harrison are still in Double-A. All of the other members of this draft class except for 28th round pick David Hurlbut are no longer with the Twins organization.
Wheeler had been a starting pitcher for all but one appearance in his minor league career. However, the Twins are using him to help out a bullpen that has struggled recently. In his first appearance Tuesday night he pitched two innings while giving up one earned run with two walks and three hits allowed.
Jason is also a presence on the mound as he stands 6’6″ and 255 lbs. Last season with Rochester he went 11-6 with a 3.53 ERA, his best season at Triple-A. The left-handed pitcher will look to build off of last season’s success.
Although Wheeler may only be up for a short while to help out the bullpen, he is the first in his Twins draft class to reach the MLB. Also, making a major league debut is a special occasion for any player no matter the occasion. The Twins hope he can have a positive impact on the Twins and the bullpen.