And so the hype continues to build for Zack Wheeler. On the day he faced big-league hitters for the first time, throwing live batting practice on a spring training back field, Justin Turner invoked no less a name than Stephen Strasburg.
“He’s got some late life on his fastball, it kind of jumps on you,’’ said Turner. “He’s got that late explosion, kind of like Strasburg has. The way the ball explodes out of his hand, it looks like a little aspirin.’’
Yes, the Mets’ acclaimed prospect made that kind of impression on players who were seeing him live for the first time Wednesday. You knew that Wheeler’s 30-pitch session was quite the event when David Wright and Ike Davis delayed their own cage work just to see the phenom up close.
As Turner said, “When guys like that who are supposed to be hitting in the cage stick around to watch somebody throw, you’re obviously talking about one of the top prospects in baseball.’’
There were plenty of Mets officials, media types and fans on hand as well, while Matt Harvey, last year’s next big thing who is now a proven commodity, threw his own live BP session on an adjoining field with little notice.
Such is the fascination with prospects, especially ones such as Wheeler, with the long, lean build of a power pitcher and the fluid delivery that makes even fellow pros envious.
Shaun Marcum, for example. The seven-year veteran righthander turned to a teammate as he watched Wheeler throw 95-mph fastballs and said, “(----), he makes that look too easy.’’


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