Breaking News: New York Mets’ starting pitcher Zack Wheeler has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. He will most likely undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the entire 2015 season.
The almost-certain loss of the promising 24-year-old Wheeler, who logged a 3.54 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 187 strikeouts in 185.1 innings last season, is a huge blow to his Fantasy owners.
Though, it has not yet been confirmed that Wheeler will indeed undergo Tommy John surgery, that would seem to be the most likely outcome.
If he indeed goes under the knife, Wheeler would miss the entire 2015 season and probably the start of the ’16 campaign.
If you have a solid replacement option available on the waiver wire in non-dynasty leagues, go ahead and bring him on board in Wheeler’s stead.
How to Recover From Zack Wheeler’s Elbow Injury
If pickings are very slim and you’re feeling rather cautious, though, you might want to wait until it is confirmed that Wheeler will indeed undergo surgery, and then make your move. One high-upside hurler that might be available on your league wire is Seattle’s Taijuan Walker, who is owned in 23 percent of ESPN leagues, and 36 percent of Yahoo formats.
Walker is a 22-year-old who forged a 2.61 ERA and struck out 34 batters in 38 innings for the Mariners last season. Walker is not yet assured of a rotation spot, but his upside is enormous if he indeed earns that nod.
You may also want to check for Toronto’s Drew Hutchison (19 percent ESPN / 48 percent Yahoo), a 24-year-old who posted 11 wins and fanned 184 batters in 184.2 innings for the Jays in 2014.
Dillon Gee looks to be the top internal option to step into Wheeler’s vacated rotation spot, but his rather pedestrian strikeout relegates him to NL-only or deeper mixed Fantasy formats.
Zach Wheeler Photo credit: Paul Hadsall
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