Ht: 6’1″ Wt: 170
Acquired: Drafted 15th Round in 2013 from Texas Tech
FutureSox Prospect Rankings
- #19 – 2015 Preseason
- FutureSox Pitcher of the Month, August/September 2014
- Arizona Fall League, 2015
Wheeler was somewhat of an unknown commodity when he was drafted, having pitched only 51 innings with lackluster results across three seasons for the Red Raiders (where he was originally an outfielder). In limited relief action in 2013, Wheeler showed some good results across rookie and A ball. But he broke out in 2014, as part of a tandem starting pair with fellow lefty Jordan Guerrero in Kannapolis. The thin lefty was among the top 6 starting pitchers in the full system in ERA (2.84), WHIP (1.19), H/9 (7.8) and K/9 (10.2). Going into 2015 for his age 23 season, he was moved to the bullpen (though he’s made some spot starts). . Surprisingly, Wheeler opened 2016 back in Winston-Salem again in their bullpen, but he breezed through his first 16 appearances there and was promoted to AA Birmingham where he’s more age-appropriate at 24 years old. There he got hit around pretty badly, allowing 41 hits in 24.2 innings.
Wheeler has put on velocity over the years, and his fastball now sits 91-95 (though usually on the lower end). He’s also got a low 80’s slider that Nathaniel Stoltz of Fangraphs said in 2014 has a lot of bite, and a change-up that is inconsistent. He looks like a potential LOOGY going forward, showing more effectiveness against LHB than RHB. But recent reports on his stuff haven’t been encouraging, and he will need to make a strong showing in 2017 to remain on the radar.
Major League Outlook: Middle reliever or lefty specialist
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