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Injuries are always an opportunity for someone, as experienced Fantasy players know, but it isn't always immediately clear. The Orioles put starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez on the disabled list Thursday, and they have some intriguing options to take his place.
The most likely replacement for Gonzalez is Mike Wright, who was recalled from the minors to replace Gonzalez on the roster. Wright held his own early in the season, posting a 2.96 ERA over 24 1/3 innings of work, with a 4:1 K:BB ratio. For the 25-year-old, that is right in line with what he has managed this season in Triple-A Norfolk, and he should be passable enough if Gonzalez's stay on the DL is brief.
However, he isn't a particularly exciting Fantasy option. Wright had a 4.67 FIP in his prior stint, much more in line with the 3.96 career ERA he holds in 483 minor-league innings. Passable is fine, but what if the Orioles had an even better option potentially waiting to be unleashed?
Kevin Gausman is that other option. He is working his way back from a shoulder issue and likely needs one more rehab start after Thursday's. That would line him up for a potential return to action early in Fantasy Week 11, and the good news is, the team appears to be stretching him out for a chance to join the rotation. Gausman got up to 61 pitches in his most recent rehab start, and should get closer to 80 or 90 in his next one, if all goes well.
Wright is probably just AL-only fodder, but Gausman has the potential to make a big impact across all formats. Remember, the former top-20 prospect according to Baseball America posted a 3.57 ERA over 20 starts last season, and has a 3.64 career FIP and 7.8 K/9 in the majors.
There isn't any guarantee Gausman will step into Baltimore's rotation when he is healthy, but it does seem inevitable at this point. If you missed out on recent call-ups like Vincent Velasquez, Lance McCullers or Eduardo Rodriguez, a post-hype sleeper with big potential like Gausman could be the next best thing. He is worth a stash in light of Gonzalez's trip to the DL.
Giovanny Urshela, Indians (4 percent owned)
Urshela was never a Baseball America top-100 prospect, and he only made as high as No. 12 on MLB.com's rankings of the Indians' top prospects coming into the season. His overall minor league line isn't terribly impressive, as he sports a .268/.304/.406 triple-slash, but he might just be a late bloomer. He was already finished with his second season in Class A by the time he turned 20, but hadn't shown terribly much promise, hitting just .256/.309/.384 in the first 243 games of his professional career. It's not that he was bad, so much as he was just fairly unexceptional, especially for a corner infielder. However, Urshela has grown into his power over the last few years, upping his HR percentage from 1.4 percent in his first three seasons to 3.0 since the start of 2012, when he more than doubled his career total to that point. He still hasn't hit for much average, but a .276/.312/.444 line looks a letter better when you consider his age and the power he has flashed. With top prospect Francisco Lindor looming in the minors as an eventual answer on the left side of the infield, Urshela is going to have to hit to lock down this job, but he has shown the potential to do so. He clubbed his first major-league home run 383 feet into the stands Thursday night.
Charlie Morton, Pirates (31 percent owned)
If you're looking for the big upside pickup on waivers, this isn't it. Even in his best start of the season, Morton struck out just six batters of 7 1/3 shutout innings against the Brewers Wednesday -- solid, but certainly not overwhelming. Morton is not a strikeout artist, and never has been, which probably lowers his ceiling. However, his groundball-heavy stuff has yielded solid results in recent years; the 31-year-old has a 3.39 ERA over his last 299 2/3 innings, with a 3.65 FIP that makes it look pretty sustainable. With his track record of success, Morton should be owned in more leagues even if he isn't much more than a league-average strikeout pitcher at best.
Eugenio Suarez, Reds (2 percent owned)
Just because every injury is a potential opportunity doesn't mean it will always work out. Sometimes teams just don't have a reasonable replacement when one of their everyday players goes down, and that could be the situation the Reds are facing in the wake of Zack Cozart's season-ending knee injury. Their likely replacement comes in the form of Eugenio Suarez, who managed an uninspiring .242/.316/.336 line with only three stolen bases in 85 games for the Tigers last season. The good news is, his minor-league line is quite a bit more inspiring, as he sports a career .778 OPS over the course of 570 games. He has hit .264/.358/.455 in Triple-A, with a decent ability to get on base, though not much ability to do much when he gets there -- he has five steals in 69 games, while being caught three times. Suarez probably strikes out a bit too much to not hit for power, though that is something he has improved upon in the upper minors, clubbing 25 home runs in 222 games between Double-A and Triple-A. There isn't a ton of upside here, but the shortstop position is so barren, he might be worth a look if his power can play up a tiny bit in Cincinnati.