Note: This page is for Ryan Wheeler who made his major league debut in 2012. For other players with the same name, click here
Ryan Gerard Wheeler
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 235 lb.
- School Loyola Marymount University
- High School Torrance High School
- Debut July 20, 2012
Wheeler hit .454 as a high school senior. Going on to college, he hit .261/.337/.318 as a freshman. He made big strides as a sophomore, batting .343/.405/.542 with 20 doubles and 45 RBI in 55 games. He led the West Coast Conference in two-baggers. He won All-Conference honors at first base. That summer, he posted a .285/.347/.424 line for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League. Baseball America rated him as the league's #29 prospect, between Matt Bashore and Chris Dominguez. As a junior in college, he hit .319/.427/.547 with 20 doubles and 61 runs in 59 games. He was second in the WCC in walks (33, trailing Angelo Songco) and runs (4 behind Songco) and third in total bases (127) and was again All-WCC at 1B.
The Arizona Diamondbacks took Wheeler in the 5th round of the 2009 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Hal Kurtzman and proceeded to tear the cover off the ball in 2009 for the Yakima Bears (.363/.461/.538, 20 2B, 44 R, 37 BB in 64 G) and South Bend Silver Hawks (.345/.472/.552 in 8 G). Despite only playing half the season, he was named Arizona's minor league position player of the year. He led the Northwest League in OBP (30 points ahead of runner-up Vince Belnome), was second in average (.003 behind Jason Ogata), second in slugging (.044 behind Gerardo Avila), led in OPS (35 points ahead of Ogata), tied for third in doubles and tied for 4th in hits (85, even with Nathan Freiman). He won NWL All-Star honors at first base and was presumably a good MVP candidate (Drew Biery won that award). Baseball America listed him as the NWL's 6th-best prospect, right behind another Wheeler (Tim Wheeler) and right ahead of Robbie Ross. They also listed him as Arizona's 9th-best prospect entering 2010.
Wheeler moved to third base in 2010 and split time between the Visalia Oaks (.284/.340/.404 in 113 G) and the Mobile Bay Bears (.254/.315/.433 in 19 G). He led California League third basemen in fielding percentage at .947. With Mobile for all of 2011, he improved to .294/.358/.465 with 30 doubles, 16 home runs and 89 RBI. He was among the Southern League leaders in RBI (4th after Ernesto Mejia, teammate Paul Goldschmidt and Scott Van Slyke), hits (tied for 5th with Tyler Kuhn), total bases (223, tied for 6th with Rebel Ridling) and doubles (7th). He also led SL third sackers in both putouts (65) and assists (184). He was named the SL All-Star third baseman.
Wheeler started 2012 explosively with the Reno Aces and hit.351/.388/.572 with 27 doubles, 15 home runs and 90 RBI after 93 games. He was 5th in the Pacific Coast League in average, 5th in slugging and first in RBI. In the 2012 AAA All-Star Game, he hit third and played third for the Pacific Coast League team. He struck out against Tyler Cloyd in the first and Matt Harvey in the third. He singled in the 5th off Rudy Owens. Josh Vitters replaced him at the hot corner and the PCL went on to win, 3-0.
Shortly after appearing in the 2012 AAA All-Star Game, Wheeler made his major league debut with the Diamondbacks, on July 20th, going 1 for 4 with a run scored and a pair of strikeouts in a start at third base and batting 8th against the Houston Astros. He struck out his first two at-bats against Bud Norris then hit into a force at home. His 4th trip up, he singled off Rhiner Cruz and came around later in the inning on a hit by Stephen Drew. The D-Backs quickly indicated that they were seeing him as their third baseman of the future when they traded incumbent Ryan Roberts to the Tampa Bay Rays on July 24th, indicating that Ryan was their man for the future.