It's unlikely you'll be able to add Michael Lorenzen off the waiver wire. He's rostered in 79 percent of CBS Sports leagues already. But if you happen to play in one of the 21 percent where he isn't rostered, you might presume he's the priority pickup today following his no-hitter against the Nationals Wednesday.
And to that, I say ... well ...
Consider what else is out there. Yes, Lorenzen's ERA is down to 3.23, and his WHIP is down to 1.04. I must admit he's putting up the kind of numbers that demand to be rostered. Moreover, he's been particularly untouchable of late. That was uniquely true Wednesday, of course, but with that effort, he now has a 1.11 ERA and 0.76 WHIP in his past six starts, allowing three hits or fewer in four of them. In all, he's allowed three hits or fewer in seven of his 20 starts, so in a way, the no-hitter wasn't all that surprising. Limiting hits is kind of his thing.
But when you think of pitchers who limit hits, what are the most commonly shared traits (other than the limiting of the hits)? They either rack up strikeouts at a high rate or put the ball in the air at a high rate, often both. Lorenzen does neither. His 37.5 percent fly-ball rate is decidedly middle-of-the-road, and his 19.6 percent strikeout rate ranks near the bottom of all qualifiers. His 2023 season isn't an outlier in either regard, yet he entered this season with a career 4.10 ERA and 1.36 WHIP. His 4.14 xERA and 4.27 xFIP don't agree with what they're seeing either. In fact, the xERA is one of the highest of his career.
So what do I think is going on with Lorenzen? I understand the claim gets harder to make with each passing start -- and again, he demands to be rostered at this point -- but sometimes a guy just keeps rolling sevens. It will eventually stop, but there's no specific timetable for "eventually."
So again, I think it's wise to consider what else is out there. If you can instead grab one of Gavin Williams, Cole Ragans and Chase Silseth -- a trio of up-and-coming rookies -- it's probably the better move. The way each excelled in his last start is likely more durable than the way Lorenzen excelled in his no-hitter.
Naturally, if you can add Lorenzen in addition to them, that's totally fine. I would prefer him to recent call-up Emerson Hancock, who may not be long for the Mariners rotation and likely doesn't have big strikeout upside anyway. For additional context, I would also prefer Lorenzen to either of the pitchers featured below ...
Joey Meneses DH
WAS Washington • #45 • Age: 31
Meneses' productivity of late has become too much to ignore. With another two home runs Tuesday, he's up to nine in his past 27 games, batting .280 (30 for 107) with a .922 OPS during that stretch. But part of what makes it so notable is that he had just two home runs in his first 80 games, looking nothing like the middle-of-the-order slugger who burst onto the scene in the second half last year. So is this second half shaping up to be much the same? I have my doubts. Last year, Meneses' average exit velocity was 91.4 mph. During this stretch with nine home runs, it's only 88.7 mph, which is actually down from earlier this year. The home runs will likely slow again, but he's at least usable now that he's proven he's still capable of them
Nick Pivetta RP
BOS Boston • #37 • Age: 30
Pivetta wasn't so impressive against the Blue Jays last time out, going back to following an opener despite his 10-strikeout gem one turn earlier. But he bounced back nicely in a true start Wednesday against the Royals, striking out eight while allowing two runs in five innings. It suggests real durability for his recent run of success. and he now boasts a 2.88 ERA, 0.91 WHIP 13.3 K/9 over his past nine appearances. Of course, most of those appearances have come as a bulk reliever following an opener, but he's also excelled when the Red Sox have deployed him in a more conventional way, which seems to be happening more and more. His history should rightfully give you pause, but it's not often you'll find this kind of strikeout upside on the waiver wire this time of year.
Josh Bell 1B
MIA Miami • #9 • Age: 31
Bell added another two home runs Wednesday, raising his batting average to .323 (10 for 31) with his new team. It's of course a tiny sample, but there's reason to think he's due for a turnaround apart from just his recent performance. His plate discipline and exit velocity readings remain as strong as ever, which helps explain why his .269 xBA and .451 xSLG are so far ahead of his actual .241 and .407 marks. He's also batting third with the Marlins as opposed to fifth or sixth with the Guardians, a team whose bottom third of the lineup is so bad that he scored just 26 runs in 93 games -- a shockingly low number for a player with solid on-base skills. We saw Bell's production drop off a cliff after he was dealt to the Padres last year. Maybe this change of scenery can have the opposite effect.
CIN Cincinnati • #51 • Age: 25
Sometimes I feature players here simply because they demand comment and not because I'm particularly compelled to pick them up. Ashcraft is such a case. It's true he entered Wednesday's start with a 2.05 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in his past seven, but he also had 5.9 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 during that stretch. It was reminiscent of his strong April in which he seemed to be making good on the preseason hype but was falling well short of the strikeout numbers that fueled it. The collapse was swift and steep, and I foresaw it happening again. This latest performance Wednesday, though, has opened my mind just a crack. He upped his sinker usage considerably, which seemed to improve the effectiveness of his cutter, and it led to the sort of swing-and-miss numbers (18 on 103 pitches) that we've been longing to see. Of course, it's an isolated event right now. We'll see if it becomes a trend.
Nolan Jones LF
COL Colorado • #22 • Age: 25
There was a time not so long ago when Jones' roster rate was up over 80 percent. You look at his season line and wonder why it ever changed. The simple answer is that the Rockies didn't uphold their end of the bargain, reducing him to part-time duty at the first signs of slippage in early July. But here in early August, they're more limited in their choices. C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk have been traded. Kris Bryant is hurt again. Jones is back to playing virtually every day and, as you may have surmised, producing. He homered twice Tuesday and had a four-hit game last week. His exit velocities remain among the highest in baseball, and while his strikeout rate is too high, his home environment should prevent his batting average from dropping too low. (And actually, he's been even better on the road so far.)
DET Detroit • #30 • Age: 26
When last we spoke of Carpenter, I pointed out that the power is indisputable at this point but that it's undermined by him having to sit against lefties. One of those things has changed recently. Indeed, Carpenter has started 16 straight games for the Tigers, including three against lefties. He's still confined to a bad lineup, but it's easier to buy into him as a Fantasy asset if he's playing every day. And he seems to be heating up, too, delivering his fifth straight multi-hit game Wednesday to give him a .550 (11 for 20) batting average during that stretch.