Comments: Wheeler joins the Sox pen after pitching the last 3 years for the Rays. Prior to that he has seen time with the Mets and Astros after being drafted by the Rays in the 1996 draft. Wheeler's last three years with the Rays show a ERA+s of 142, 133 and 118. He also posted some pretty nice seasons with Houston in 2005/2006 with ERA+s of 192/177. Wheeler shows pretty good control of his aresenal, traditionally posting low WHIPS and in 2009 managed to walk only 9 batters in 57+ innings of work. He has a pretty wide repertoire, throwing his 89 mph fastball only about 1/2 of the time. He mixes in a nice 81-82 mph slider, a 75-76 mph cutter and the occasional change-up. Botth slider and cutter have pretty good movement and he uses his breaking stuff as his out pitch, working the fastball to setup hitters. He is more of a flyball pitcher which tends to drive up his homer count (he went 10+ in 2007/2008/2009). He has held all RH hitters to a 0.635 OPS over his career.
Unique Stats/Facts: Wheeler is a native NE'er having been born in Providence, R.I. and currently residing in Warwick. Recorded the last out ever in the old Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Pitched for Team USA in the 2006 WBC.
Analysis: Wheeler was brought in to ideally man the 6-7 inning frames in front of the Jenks/Bard/Pap troika. He offers up a very useful arm and should give the Sox some consistent innings from the pen that they were lacking in 2010. Consider him the ROOGY in the pen with his lifetime 0.270 OBP against RHs
Projection: ERA - 2.87, FIP - 4.19, G-63, IP-47, BB-14, K-42
Tomorrow: Kevin Youkilis (last but certainly not least)