I was listening to Inside Pitch this afternoon with Jody McDonald and Jim Bowden and Bowden mentioned that he is hearing that the Giants are willing to deal top pitching prospect Zach Wheeler in return for Mets outfielder Carlos Beltran. I don't know if what he is hearing is true, but Bowden does have a plethora of contacts inside front offices across MLB, but I am not sure the Giants would give up their best prospect for 2 months of Beltran.
But the Mets have the advantage here as there are numerous teams looking to bolster their lineups with a bat like Beltran, including the Phillies, Braves, Red Sox, among others.
More on Beltran to the Giants after the jump:
Before we get into why the Mets would want Zach Wheeler, here is what Beltran brings to the table for the Giants. First, he is a middle of the order bat who can help a struggling Giant lineup. Beltran is hitting .293-.389-.528 with 15 HRs, 61 RBIs, an 56 runs scored. He also carried the Astros tin the 2004 playoffs where he hit 8 HRs and drove in 14 runs in 46 at bats.
Wheeler was the 6th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Last year, he went 3-3 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.449 WHIP and a 70-38 K/BB rate in 58+ innings in the Low A South Atlantic League. He gave up just 47 hits, no home runs, in his 58.2 innings as well.
This season, at High A San Jose in the hitter-friendly California League, Wheeler is 7-4 in 15 starts, with a 3.70 ERA, a 1.331 WHIP, and a 95-46 K/BB rate in 82.2 innings or work. He has given up 64 hits, 7 of which are HRs, in his 82.2 innings this season. He is striking out 10 batters per nine innings, and walking around 5 batters per nine innings this season, very similar to his 2010 peripheral stats. Wheeler has improved his stats across the board, at a higher level, and in a hitter-friendly league as well, so that is saying plenty about his abilities.
Coming into the season he was ranked by Baseball America as their #55 prospect in all of baseball. In their recent Midseason prospect rankings, Baseball America ranked Wheeler as their #35 prospect in baseball, while ESPN's Keith Law liked him just a bit better as he ranked him as his #31 prospect. Here is what Law wrotes in his Updated Top 50 prospects article recently:
Analysis: There's some thought he could end up in the 'pen because the fastball command isn't there, but he barely pitched last year, and the lack of repetitions may be a reason. It's No. 1 or 2 starter stuff. Preseason Ranking: 36
So Wheeler has No.1 or 2 starter upside, but are the Giants ready to deal him for 2 months of Carlos Beltran? I am not so sure, but we will see if Mets GM Sandy Alderson can work the phones to drive up Beltran's price. Beltran is certainly helping Alderson as well with the way he is hitting this season.
Should the Giants deal their top prospect for Carlos Beltran?