Today’s What To Watch For is a trifecta of games that features a double-headed and a continuance of the prospect promotion trend we have been seeing a ton of this season.
New York Mets at Atlanta Braves – 1:10 pm
The first leg of the Mets-Braves double-header will feature the first career start of Atlanta’s second-round pick from last year’s draft, Alex Wood. This is not Wood’s major league debut; the left-hander was called up three weeks ago and has been working out of the Braves’ bullpen. He will be up against another rookie, Matt Harvey, who has been nothing short of spectacular this season, ranking second in the National League in ERA (2.04) and strikeouts (102).
New York Mets at Atlanta Braves – 7:10 pm
The much anticipated debut of Zack Wheeler highlights the night cap. His first start for the Mets is one that New Yorkers have been watching for since he first arrived with the organization as part of the 2011 Carlos Beltran trade. Wheeler’s path to the bigs has taken a much more traditional route than some of the other early-round draft picks we’ve seen promoted this season. He was the sixth overall pick in 2009, and has slowly climbed his way up the farm system ladder to get to this point. He entered the year ranked as seventh best overall prospect. It’s likely that this start will be a spot start, but it offers a first glimpse of how his high 90s fastball and hard curve stacks up against big league hitters in real live game action.
Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox – 1:05 pm and 7:10 pm
This twin billing is all about the debut of Wil Myers, the power-hitting 22 year old that was the centerpiece of the Rays’ end of the James Shield trade with Kansas City. Myers is ranked as the fourth best prospect in all of baseball, and offers to bring a much needed right-handed bat to the corner outfield and designated hitter positions. Tampa Bay has developed a new found focus on scoring runs this year – they rank fourth in the American League with 4.83 games – so it’s likely the promotion of Myers is meant to be for the long term.