Results tagged ‘ Zelous Wheeler ’
Who is he? What’s his future?
Wheeler is an infielder with an uncannily consistent bat; in his full seasons his batting average has ranged from .258 to .275; his on-base percentage from .346 to .382; his slugging percentage from .390 to .459. The Orioles claimed him on waivers from the Brewers organization; he started the year with Norfolk but was quickly sent down to Bowie. Later, he was promoted to Norfolk for a brief period. He didn’t do much in Norfolk, but only played in 14 games.
Wheeler’s like Ryan Adams, among others — he’s got the glove to play third base but his bat is questionable there; he’s got the bat to play second base but his glove is very marginal there; and he’s nothing more than an emergency shortstop. He’s Mark Bellhorn without the power but with more offensive consistency.
For me, Wheeler’s an ideal sixth infielder — he can play second and third and can pinch-hit in the right spots. But, today teams are carrying twelve pitchers, leaving a five-man bench. You need a backup catcher, a backup outfielder who can play center, a true backup infielder who can play shortstop, and you’d like to have a first baseman/corner outfielder/DH/PH who can really hit. That leaves one bench spot open, and most teams can probably do better than Wheeler for that last spot. If teams returned to carrying eleven or (gasp!) ten pitchers, then there’s a bench role and roster spot for a Zelous Wheeler-type player.
The Orioles claimed third base prospect Zelous Wheeler off waivers from the Brewers, and to make room for him designated for assignment left-handed starter Dana Eveland. Eveland stated that if he cleared waivers, he would accept an assignment to Norfolk, where he likely would join the starting rotation. It’s unlikely that Eveland will be picked up by another team, because he’s not significantly better than what most teams already have and organizations are looking to reduce their rosters, not add to them. So it makes sense for Eveland to hang onto a job he will have, rather than try to find one in a tough market.
Zelous Wheeler is a twenty-five year old. It looks like the Brewers had been developing him as a utility player; he played 2009 as a third baseman, moved to shortstop for 2010, and moved to third for 2011, playing several games each year at second base. Offensively, Wheeler’s strongest attribute is probably his strike-zone judgement; his career on-base percentage is .371. His most noteworthy attribute is his consistency; his full-season minor-league batting averages have been .258, .268, .275, and .272; his corresponding on-base percentages have been .346, .370, .382, and .378. Unfortuately for him, he’s listed at 5’10″ and 220 lb., so he doesn’t really look like an athlete.
Wheeler was optioned to Norfolk, where he’ll compete with Josh Barfield, Ryan Adams, Matt Antonelli, and Josh Bell for time at third base (with some of these other players covering second base.) It’s looking more and more as though Josh Bell is the odd man out here, and I would be surprised to see him still in the Orioles organization by Memorial Day.