|Photo by Michael Baron|
At some point during the next homestand, most likely during the Mets' series against the Cubs from June 14 to 16, Zack Wheeler will be getting his long-awaited promotion to the majors. If Wheeler lives up to the hype, he stands a chance to follow in the footsteps of Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and Matt Harvey to become one of the most celebrated young pitchers in the history of the franchise.
In addition to being aces in the rotation, Seaver, Gooden and Harvey all share another thing in common. They all had or have nicknames.
Tom Seaver owns virtually every pitching record for the franchise. It should come as no surprise, then, that Seaver is known as "The Franchise". Dwight Gooden threw blazing fastballs and knee-buckling curveballs with the precision of a surgeon, hence his nickname, "Dr. K". And speaking of the Doctor, he was watching Matt Harvey flirt with a no-hitter back on April 13, and tweeted this after the Twins' Justin Morneau foiled the gem with a home run off the right field foul pole:
Morneau got lucky... We need to come up with a nickname for this kid... He's the real deal... Matt "THE REAL DEAL" Harvey !!! @mattharvey33
— Dwight Gooden (@DocGooden16) April 13, 2013
Since that tweet made the rounds, Harvey has been referred to as "The Real Deal" by fans and broadcasters alike.
So that brings us to the next Mets wunderkind, Zack Wheeler. Great things have been expected of Wheeler ever since Sandy Alderson acquired the top pitching prospect for Carlos Beltran in 2011. It would be easy to just call him a "Wheeler Dealer", since Wheeler would most certainly be dealing on the mound. But why be predictable? Here's a nickname I think will stand the test of time.
For the better part of a decade, Tom Seaver and Jerry Koosman formed the best one-two punch of any pitching duo in team history. And now Harvey and Wheeler are hoping to be this generation's Seaver and Koosman. Therefore, since Harvey is being referred to as "The Real Deal", it should be obvious what Wheeler's nickname should be. This tweet should say it all.
@docgooden16 gave @mattharvey33 the nickname "THE REAL DEAL".So I'm giving @wheelerpro45 the nickname "THE WHEEL DEAL".How's that sound?
— Ed Leyro (@Studi_Metsimus) June 5, 2013
"The Franchise" was the ace of a two-time pennant-winning team. "Doctor K" got his own "korner" at Shea Stadium. And now the Mets are on the cusp of having a new nicknamed duo taking turns baffling opponents at the plate.
Matt "THE REAL DEAL" Harvey. Zack "THE WHEEL DEAL" Wheeler. Those sound like the names of pitchers who should become a really, wheely good combo in the Mets' rotation for many years to come. Let's make their nicknames stick.