While most of the Twins talks were fixated on Noah Syndergaard, the Twins had a door prize waiting for them in Zack Wheeler. Although he didn’t have the star power and team control that Syndergaard had, Wheeler could have been a nice rental piece that Minnesota could have attempted to re-sign in the offseason.
Much like Syndergaard, Wheeler’s stats aren’t that impressive for a team that wanted to bring help to their rotation. With an 8-6 record and a 4.45 ERA, it would have been fair for Twins fans to question if it was worth bringing in a guy that might not be around in 2020. However, Wheeler’s stuff may have been the deal-breaker over back-end guys such as Martin Perez, Kyle Gibson and Michael Pineda.
According to FanGraphs, Wheeler’s stuff hasn’t declined despite his lack of success. His fastball velocity of 97.1 MPH is the highest of his career and his K/9 rate of 9.9 (also a career-high) would rank first in the Twins’ current starting rotation.
Add in the fact that you would be dragging Wheeler out of a situation with an 82-year old pitching coach and you have a pitcher that could be a solid third option for a team that might have to deal with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Grienke at some point in October.