Cincinnati Reds: Forget Michael Lorenzen in the outfield, he’s fine as a pitcher

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the 6th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 29: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds hits a home run in the 6th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on August 29, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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I know it’s exciting for Cincinnati Reds fans to speculate how good Michael Lorenzen could be as an everyday player. But let’s pump the brakes on the idea of moving him to the outfield.

Michael Lorenzen crushed his fourth home run over the left field fence during last night’s 12-13 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. Several Cincinnati Reds fans have voiced their desire to see Lorenzen play in the field as an everyday player. While it’s a fun thought, let’s keep Lorenzen on the mound.

Yes, Michael Lorenzen in only 22 at-bats has 4 home runs and 9 RBIs. He’s hitting .273 with a .304 on-base percentage. He’s slugging .818 and has a team-leading 1.123 OPS. Those are ridiculous stats for any pinch-hitter. If we take it a step further, those numbers are out of this world for a pitcher.

Three of Lorenzen’s four homers have come against the Milwaukee Brewers. I’m sure Craig Counsell does not want to see Lorenzen in the batter’s box this afternoon when the Cincinnati Reds close out their three-game series with the Brewers.

While it’s fun to think about seeing Lorenzen’s bat in the lineup more than we already do, he’s having a really good season on the mound. Lorenzen has pitched in 36 games, totaling 55.1 innings with a 3.25 ERA.

Other than Jared Hughes and closer Raisel Iglesias, Michael Lorenzen has been the best reliever in the Reds’ bullpen this season. David Hernandez has had a good season as well but has struggled of late. In 11 games during the month of August, Hernandez’s ERA is 5.91. He’s allowed 3 home runs during that span and has been a bit wild, as evidenced by the 3 batters he’s hit.

Lorenzen is able to be a late-inning reliever, situational pitcher or a long reliever. He’s pitched as many as 3 innings in 5 of his 36 appearances this season. Having a player as versatile as Lorenzen is a luxury that most teams will never acquire.

For those of you who want to see Lorenzen play in the outfield, which he’s done twice this season, where are you going to play him? The Reds are already struggling to find playing time for Phillip Ervin, and other fans are advocating to see Reds’ top prospect Nick Senzel play in the outfield in 2019.

Cincinnati already has a likely starting outfield of Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker, and Billy Hamilton in 2019. Benching one of those three in favor of Lorenzen when the Reds have talent like Ervin and Senzel as well is highly unlikely.

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It’s fun to think about, but highly unlikely. Lorenzen can still be a great reliever out of the bullpen and can pinch hit in almost every game the Reds want. In fact, I’d encourage them to do just that. Lorenzen is a fantastic talent, but his talents are best kept where they are now. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.