The Wire Troll: Michael Lorenzen Delivering for Detroit
Michael Lorenzen is on a roll. (Yahoo Sports)
Welcome back to another week of Fantasy baseball. We’re into mid-June, so the season is nearly two-fifths complete. Drive your success from the waiver wire.
This week, we’re still waiting on the A’s Vegas stadium vote; Jose Ramirez went hog wild on the BoSox; and Yordan Alvarez is dealing with an oblique issue.
And now, let’s get to this week’s…
Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire Picks
Michael Lorenzen, SP, Detroit Tigers (ESPN: 20.1 per cent; CBS: 49 per cent): Nearly four years ago, we liked Lorenzen as a Red reliever who could potentially work his way into the closer mix. It was a great pick as he wound up having a superb season before allowing too many baserunners in 2020 and then really fading (in no small part thanks to injuries) in 2021, his final year in Cincinnati. Last season the Halos converted Lorenzen into a starter with better results, but more shoulder woes occurred, and he signed with Detroit last winter. This year, he’s taken his game to a new level as a starter, and had been on a major roll (1.95 ERA in May and a serious gem in his first start this month) before having a rough outing on Friday (which wasn’t awful if you just remove Corbin Carroll‘s grand salami). Sure, Lorenzen’s record is meh, but he is pitching for the Tigers, so don’t expect a boatload of wins, but man, he’s worth adding given the peripherals. He’s been especially good at home (2.66 ERA before Friday’s tough start), while enjoying success with a tweaked changeup and by attacking the zone (see video below). A former two-way player, Lorenzen covered a lot of ground in the outfield because of his speed, but given his 93-97 mph easy heat, he was wisely moved into a full-time pitching role.
- The Yankees have lost yet another starter with Nestor Cortes (rotator cuff) hitting the 15-day IL. Thanks to wildness — especially last month — he hasn’t come close to duplicating his excellent 2022 effort. Look for Randy Vasquez to stick around in the rotation for a while after a brilliant showing on Thursday, so give him a look if you need pitching help.
- With Danny Jansen (groin) out, Alejandro Kirk has really stepped up. Before Friday, Kirk had driven in runs in back-to-back games and was batting .300 in June after scuffling last month. He hasn’t been hitting as well this season, but this recent run buoys hopes that he’ll be able to deliver closer to his expected value going forward. Give Kirk a look if he’s been cut in shallow formats.
- When Alvarez left early for Houston on Thursday, Corey Julks took his place. Julks drew a walk, but had been quiet lately until getting a hit in his only at-bat Friday. He has flashed some power this year, and with Alvarez now on the IL, Julks could be worth a look in deep AL-only formats.
- Tampa Bay keeps on winning thanks to contributions from players like OF/1B Luke Raley. He had a triple, a run and a ribbie Thursday, giving him hits in four of five games this month (1271 OPS). Raley has already seen more action than ever, proving quite productive in his role, so give him a look if you need some power.
- Brandon Belt is heating up. Before taking an 0-fer on Friday, he had hit safely in five straight games, upping his BA to .350 for June while staying healthy enough to be on pace to see his most action since 2019. Most impressively, Belt is not missing hittable pitches as he leads all major leaguers in sweet spot percentage, ahead of the likes of Freddie Freeman and Luis Arraez. Give Belt a look in deeper AL-only leagues.
- Darin Ruf landed on the IL last week with a lacerated knee, but was shifted to the 60-day DL after it was revealed that his kneecap was fractured. He was actually doing a good job of getting on base for the Giants this season, yet was DFAed last month. Milwaukee signed Ruf, but he hasn’t been able to hit his way out of a wet paper bag with the Brewers and will now miss up to two month. Time to stick a fork in his career?
- Washington has improved a bit this year, but the future looks much brighter as top outfield prospect James Wood moves closer to the bigs. He showed tremendous power through 150 at-bats at High-A before earning a promotion to Double-A last month. And while Wood has struggled to get on base in the early going, it’s just a matter of time before he adjusts to this higher level and starts proving why he’s so highly touted (he was No. 10 on our Top 100 Prospects rankings this spring).
- On Thursday, Cincy starter Graham Ashcraft was rocked for the sixth time in his last seven starts as his tremendous April showing looks more and more like a mirage. He’s now landed on the 15-day IL with a left calf contusion, and clearly, the break comes at a good time considering he gave up more than an earned run per inning last month and has already nearly matched his 2022 rookie season loss total.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
Beastie Boys released their debut album in 1986, and three years later came their followup, Paul’s Boutique, which had a completely different feel. The lead tune from this effort is “To All the Girls,” which includes a sample of Idris Muhammad‘s “Loran’s Dance.”