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Zack Wheeler needs Tommy John surgery. What does this do for the Mets rotation?

Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Mets RHP Zack Wheeler, who may in the industry have pinned as their 2015 breakout pitcher, has a fully torn UCL and will need Tommy John Surgery. This substantially changes the fantasy value of prospects Noah Syndergaard and/or Steven Matz, who were log jammed behind arguably the deepest rotation in baseball. The Mets depth chart went something along these lines before the Wheeler UCL tear: 1. Harvey, 2. deGrom 3. Wheeler, 4. Niese, 5. Colon, 6. Gee, with Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Rafael Montero in the mix behind them in the minors.

Dillon Gee will likely serve as the immediate placeholder to delay service time an extra year, but Wheeler's injury clears a path for the debut of Syndergaard or Matz that wasn't there prior to the injury. Both Syndergaard and Matz have significantly better ZiPS projections for 2015 than Dillon Gee, and the Mets would be better served calling up one of them to use in the rotation once they lock in the extra year of control.

Here's a look at the projections for the 4 options available to the Mets for the final rotation spot:

ZiPS projection:

Syndergaard: 3.48 ERA, 3.26 FIP, 9.52 K/9, 2.55 BB/9 in 134 IP

Matz: 3.56 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 7.94 K/9, 2.79 BB/9 in 141 IP

Gee: 4.18 ERA, 4.24 FIP, 6.78 K/9, 2.54 BB/9 in 142 IP

Montero: 3.61 ERA, 3.63 FIP, 8.65 K/9, 3.11 BB/9 in 144 IP

For fantasy purposes, Syndergaard has the highest ceiling. With a fastball that sits 94-98, a power curve at 78-83 and a plus change up at 82-85, he has the biggest strikeout potential and the best stuff of the group. Steven Matz, a LHP, is a close second, featuring a mid 90s fastball with a plus change up and good curve. Rafael Montero has talent, but was shaky in 2014 and should be a distant third option behind Syndergaard and Matz.