“He is the same spot [Matt] Harvey was at last year, I would say,” Backman said, according to Hale. “It’s a matter of command. I think it’s going to be a matter of consistency.”
Wheeler struggled through 3 1/3 innings in his season debut on Thursday night, allowing two runs and three walks and three strikeouts.
“It was the first game. He was rushing a little bit. He showed signs of just dominating, and then he’d get a little bit erratic," Backman explained to Hale.
One of the keys for Wheeler will be how he grows from his first start, and whether or not he can bounce back and gain some command. I'm not so much concerned with the line as I am with his command, his ability to throw quality strikes with all of his pitches, and whether or not he can limit the walks. Command has been an on-and-off issue for him throughout his career as a professional, but he's show to be able to adjust at every level he's reached. He was sent to the minor leagues to work on his command and accumulate more innings at Triple-A - once he achieves both, the results will be clear and he will likely get his first taste of the big leagues at that point.