It might be easy to forget about Diamondbacks third base prospect Ryan Wheeler with Matt Davidson putting up loud numbers a level below him, but Wheeler has impressed in his own right for Triple-A Reno.
Wheeler went 3-for-5 with a homer and a double, along with stealing his first base of the year, for Reno against Sacramento on Monday. The 23-year-old improved his slash line to .324/.370/.542 through 179 at-bats. He also drove in three runs on the night, giving him 45 in 48 games on the year, ranking him third in the league in RBIs. He started the season strong in April and has gotten even hotter in May, putting up a .333/.400/.548 line in 84 at-bats.
While Wheeler has the hitting acumen and average power to carry him to the majors, the lefty-swinger will have to improve his production against lefthanded pitchers. He hit just two of his 16 homers last year against southpaws, hitting .276/.310/.373 against them compared to .301/.375/.500 against righties, and his platoon split has gotten even more pronounced this year. Wheeler’s homer yesterday was his seventh of the year, all of which have been off righthanders, against whom he’s hitting a robust .346/.384/.610. Meanwhile, Triple-A lefthanders have neutralized him to the tune of a .256/.327/.326 line against them this spring.