Prospect Profile: Zelous Wheeler
by, 04-16-2011 at 01:24 PM (1160 Views)
Just looking at this kid, you might think Kirby Puckett had rose from the dead, and is trying to make a comeback in the Brewers organization...If only that were true as the Brewers could really use a reliable Center Fielder. But no, he isn't Kirby Puckett, and he doesn't play Center Field. He is infact Zelous Wheeler, or "Z" as his teammates call him, and he's quickly making a name for himself in the Brewers organization.
Physically, heís not your prototypical Major League shortstop. Standing at a generous 5í10 and weighing 220 pounds, he looks more like Prince Fielder back in his vegetarian days when he came to Spring Training significantly sized-down. Oddly enough, regardless of his teddy-bear physique, heís managed to average 11 stolen bases and 25 doubles in each of his last three seasons in the minor leagues.
"Everyone always says I don't look like a middle infielder, but I'm pretty quick on my feet."
- Wheeler says in a recent interview with JSonline.
His defense might be the one thing that could keep him from reaching the Major Leagues, as he committed 32 errors in 93 games at Double-A Huntsville last season. Letís face it, thatís bad enough to make Yuniesky Betancourt look like a Gold Glove candidate. But donít worry! All hope isnít lost. Remember, Rickie Weeks was pretty miserable himself as a Minor League second-baseman, and Ryan Braun was so bad at Third Base, Ned Yost was forced to move him to the outfield. Who knows? Maybe when Prince Fielder departs, he could take over the duties at First Base. Heíd probably end up gaining a little weight, and youíd never notice Prince was gone!
Offensively, the kid can hit! In parts of four season in the Minor Leagues, Wheeler hit for a collective 239 RBIís, and a .371 on-base-percentage. Heís known as a patient hitter that will draw a lot of walks, and can hit for power when he needs too. Heís not going to win any MVP awards, but he has the capabilities to eventually develop into a Bill Hall type player. Not so bad for a 19th Round draft pick!
So far this season, Wheeler is batting .400 in five at-bats with Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He was recently placed on the 7-day disabled list, but should be able to return to the club shortly.
Interview With Zelous Wheeler : mms://a1271.v14668e.c14668.g.vm.akamaistream.net/7/1272/14668/v0001/mlb.download.akamai.com/14668/2010/aaa/nas/audio/11/Interview 4-11.mp3