Coming in to the 2012 season one name on the initial Sky Sox roster stood out, outfielder Tim Wheeler, because of his break out 2011 season in Double-A. Up until now Sky Sox fans have not yet seen the seventh best prospect in the Rockies organization according to MLB.com, because of a broken bone in his right hand that he suffered during the first roadtrip of the season. Until tonight versus the Tucson Padres, as Wheeler will be in the Sky Sox starting lineup June 2 and will be making his Security Service Field debut tonight.
In 2011, Wheeler had 33 home runs for the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League, the most by any player in Double-A and a record in the Rockies organization for any player at the Double-A level. Wheeler was named to Baseball America’s Minor League All-Star team, the only Colorado prospect on the 2011 team and the first Rockies player since Jhoulys Chacin in 2008 to achieve that honor.
Wheeler led the Texas League in 2011 with 161 hits and 67 extra-base hits, was the only player to amass 100 runs (105) or 300 total bases, and was one of four players in the league with an on-base plus slugging (OPS) of more than .900. In addition to the league-leading power numbers Wheeler also led the Drillers in stolen bases with 21, the second straight season he has totaled at least 20 stolen bases, and was the only player in the entire Minor Leagues to have at least 30 home runs and 21 stolen bases.
Wheeler played in the first eight games of the season for the Sky Sox, posting a .200 average with five hits and four RBI in games at Reno and Tacoma, whose parks are known to favor pitchers. Last night in the series finale at Salt Lake, Wheeler returned from his hand injury to play his first game in more than a month and a half going 0-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout.