OK, prospectors, it sounds like we're finally going to get a look at Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole and New York's Zack Wheeler. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Michael Sanserino, Cole is likely to debut on Tuesday against the Giants. The 22-year-old right-hander could potentially get a two-start week, with the Puigs Dodgers on deck next Sunday. (Depends a bit on the availability of Wandy Rodriguez, currently dealing with forearm inflammation.)
Cole was the No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLB draft, and he's impressed this season at Triple-A. He entered the year rated as a top-10 prospect on pretty much everyone's board, then validated the hype by delivering a 2.91 ERA and 1.06 WHIP over 12 starts at Indianapolis. He hasn't allowed a run, earned or unearned, in either of his last two starts. Cole's strikeout-rate isn't top-tier (47 in 68.0 IP), so we can't say he's been completely overpowering. But in 2012, he struck out 136 batters in 132.0 innings across three minor league levels. This is a pitcher with an obvious chance to stick, worthy of attention in mixed leagues.
To me, Mets prospect Zack Wheeler is actually a bit more interesting than Cole, though it's close to a coin flip. ESPN New York's Adam Rubin reports that Wheeler is likely to make his major league debut on June 14, in a not-terrifying home match-up against the Cubs.
While Wheeler's fantasy ratios aren't as appealing as Cole's — his ERA is 3.86, his WHIP 1.30 — you have to realize that he's been trapped in Las Vegas, a rough pitching environment. Check the home/road split. In Vegas, Wheeler's ERA is 5.88. Elsewhere, it's 2.23. No matter where the kid pitches, he strikes people out: 59 in 58.1 innings this year, 148 in 149.0 in 2012. He's scheduled to start on Friday night at Tacoma, we should note, so he'll need to get through this one last outing without implosion.
Cole is presently available in 90 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Wheeler in 77 percent. Both have the potential to assist fantasy owners in the near term; add where you have a need.