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Down Goes Wheeler

Zach Wheeler became the latest pitcher to be diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament (leading one to believe torn UCLs are as contagious as the measles), which – pending a second opinion – will lead to Tommy John surgery for the promising young right-hander. This is certainly a blow to the Mets' prospects for 2015, as the "other" New York team has had the look of a playoff contender for the first time in years. But the bright side is that they do have plenty of depth in the rotation.

From a fantasy perspective, obviously avoid Wheeler in yearly leagues, as he will not pitch in 2015. Wheeler still has value in keeper/dynasty formats (depending on your league's rules), since coming back from Tommy John surgery has become commonplace in today's MLB – as his teammate Matt Harvey can attest.

Dillon Gee is probably the biggest winner (if you can/should say anyone is a "winner" because of someone else's misfortune) in this situation, at least in the short term, he'll replace Wheeler in the starting rotation. However, the most intriguing name to watch is phenom Noah Syndergaard, who will apparently still start the season in the minors, but now has a much clearer path to a job in the Mets' rotation (assuming he doesn't piss off the team's veteran leadership by eating lunch at the wrong time again).

Syndergaard throws mid-90s heat, complemented by a curveball that manager Terry Collins has called "the hook from hell" and a developing changeup. At the age of 22, he appears to be ready to pitch in the majors despite the Mets' decision to start his 2015 in Triple-A. Assuming Syndergaard acquits himself well to start the season, expect the Mets to bring him up relatively early on, especially if Gee struggles or the rotation experiences any more injuries. This makes the youngster a nice draft-day proposition, as he should be available cheaply due to the demotion.

Monday's Barometer


Drew Storen began throwing again on Monday. Storen had surgery on his non-throwing hand last week, but appears to be ready to go. The Nats' closer should be good to go for the start of the season.

Alex Gordon returned to action on Monday. Gordon, who is recovering from a wrist injury, was able to participate in a minor league game and does not seem to be too far away from rejoining the Royals on the field.

Jonathan Lucroy got back on the field over the weekend, including hitting his first homer of the spring on Sunday. It appears that Lucroy is all systems go moving forward.

Danny Salazar was lights out in Monday's sim game. The righty struck out nine in four innings of work and did not allow a walk. Salazar is competing for a spot in Cleveland's rotation, and is an intriguing sleeper if he can win said spot.


Cliff Lee will start the season on the 60-day DL. The lefty is hoping to rehab the tear in his elbow, and thus avoid potential career-ending surgery. However, the most likely scenario is that Lee does not throw a pitch in the majors this season.

Tony Cingrani will finish spring training pitching out of the bullpen, and will most likely continue out of the pen once the season commences.

Gavin Floyd will have surgery on his pitching elbow, which will cause him to miss the entire 2015 season.


Kris Bryant, the star of spring so far, should return to the field by Thursday as he recovers from a minor bout of shoulder fatigue.

Ben Zobrist was a late scratch from Monday's game with some shoulder tightness, but claimed that if it were the regular season, he would have been able to play through it.