Last year, the Mets were treated to something special every fifth day when Matt Harvey took the mound. In his first full major league season, he exploded onto the scene and caught the attention of the whole baseball watching country with his strike outs and bloody noses. Obviously, we know he will not be here in 2014 due to Tommy John surgery. Not only does that leave the Mets with a huge hole in their rotation, but it leaves the fans deflated that there won't be a "Harvey Day" this year.
Enter Zack Wheeler. Having a very similar career path, Wheeler finally was called up late last season and gave us a taste of something Mets fans have been eager to see since he was acquired a few seasons ago for Carlos Beltran. Although very inconsistent in his first few starts, you saw significant improvement as he gained more experience.
Here's the thing. I really hope Wheeler doesn't put more pressure on himself this year to go out there and have the same type of season Harvey had last year. I also hope fans do not expect him to go out there and be Matt Harvey either. Losing Harvey is creating a void for everyone. I'm not in that clubhouse and although I doubt people will openly admit it, I almost guarantee the men in the rotation feel a need to pick up the slack with Matt gone. And being how similar they are, I'm sure Wheeler feels that pressure even more. Wheeler in a way may compare himself to Harvey, and try to hard to meet the levels that Harvey reached last year. Mets fans have expectations also. These aren't just expectations the fans have for every pitcher that comes up now to shoot to the top like Harvey did. But also for the fact that 2014 was supposed to be the year we compete. This year has all the ingredients to be a recipe for disaster for Wheeler. I hope that Wheeler goes out there and pitches the way he knows how, and just tries to be Zack Wheeler. I also hope Mets fans temper their expectations.