Cincinnati Reds Michael Lorenzen is a reliever for sure

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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After another injury set back caused by trying to stretch out, Cincinnati Reds Michael Lorenzen should stay in the bullpen.

Michael Lorenzen has both started and relieved for the Cincinnati Reds.  In his rookie season of 2015 Lorenzen started and looked like a potential number one starter.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t made a major league start since that season ended.

Throughout his college career Lorenzen was a closer.  He played the outfield and showed great athleticism as a freshman in 2011.  His next two seasons Lorenzen had a combined 35 saves in a combined 42 games.

When the Reds drafted him, they left him in the bullpen and watched him skyrocket from the Arizona Rookie League all the way to Double-A in a matter of months.  However, in 2013 after he failed to make the big league club as a reliever, the Reds sent him back to Double-A as a starter.  He started 24 games that season and was the Reds’ best starting pitching prospect.

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Lorenzen started a combined 27 games for Triple-A Louisville and Cincinnati in 2015.  He strikeout rate went down, but he looked like a top line starter in training.  He finished the season with a 4-9 MLB record and a major league WHIP that had bloated to 1.66.

Since then the Cincinnati Reds have focused on Michael Lorenzen as a major league reliever.

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Heading into this spring, Lorenzen had been a major league reliever for two seasons.  His return from the DL in 2016 along with Raiesel Iglesias may have saved the Reds from the worst pitching staff in MLB history.  As it was, they set a record for the most home runs allowed.

This spring the Reds wanted to give Lorenzen another shot at starting.  Before the injury Lorenzen made four appearances, three starts, throwing 9 2/3 innings.  He had an 8.38 ERA and appeared headed back to the bullpen.

Lorenzen had ten strikeouts and six walks which are ratios more similar to his bullpen numbers.

However, the batting average allowed of .317 and WHIP of 1.97 is more similar to his numbers as a starting pitcher.  Lorenzen was in between the two versions of himself.

Then he injured his forearm ending what a disappointing off-season for the franchise.  Lorenzen will start the season on the 10 day DL.  Then he will return to the bullpen.

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Going forward the Reds need to leave Lorenzen in the bullpen.  He gets injured as a starter and dominates as a reliever.  With the contract of Raisel Iglesias set to go up, Lorenzen may need to be the Reds closer as early as next season.