Wheeler, five others added to 40

Courtesy of New York Mets

Zack Wheeler has been added to the 40-man roster.

At the deadline to add prospects to the 40-man roster to protect them from being eligible for the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings, the Mets have selected top prospect Zack Wheeler as well as right-handers Greg Burke, Gonzalez Germen and Hansel Robles, left-hander Darin Gorski and shortstop Wilfredo Tovar.

Players are eligible for the Rule 5 draft for the first time:

• If they were 18 or younger on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is the fifth Rule 5 draft upcoming, or

• If they were 19 or older on the June 5 preceding their signing and this is fourth Rule 5 draft upcoming.

Because Wheeler was born on May 30, 1990 and signed after the 2009 draft, he was 19 years old on the June 5 that year. This is the fourth Rule 5 draft since his signing, making him eligible. If Wheeler had been born a week later -- making him 18 that June 5 -- he would not need to be protected for another year.

Wheeler, 22, went a combined 12-8 with a 3.26 ERA in 25 starts between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A Buffalo. He struck out 148 in 149 innings while surrendering 115 hits and 59 walks. Wheeler is projected to open 2013 in Triple-A.