The Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen will do anything to help his team win. Look for Lorenzen to find his way into the lineup almost every day.
Michael Lorenzen has quickly become a favorite among Cincinnati Reds fans. He smacked 4 home runs over the wall during the 2018 season and racked up 10 RBIs as well. Lorenzen was more than just a relief pitcher last season, as he saw plenty of action as a pinch hitter as well. One way or another, I look for Lorenzen to find his way into the lineup almost every day next season.
Michael was on SiriusXM Radio earlier this week and he talked about the different ways that he can help the team win, whether that’s on the mound, in the field, or at the plate. Lorenzen is a player that wants to play every day, and while some view him as a potential fifth starter for the Reds next season, I feel like that might limit his effectiveness.
Don’t get me wrong, in his three starts last season, Lorenzen was fantastic and he should be given the opportunity to start. The Cincinnati Reds were 2-1 in the 3 games he started. Lorenzen owned a 2.63 ERA in those 3 games while throwing 13.2 innings. He had 5 strikeouts, but also 5 walks. He only allowed one long ball during those 13.2 innings pitched and only one other extra-base hit.
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Those are solid numbers, and I would have no issue if the Reds wanted to insert Michael Lorenzen as the team’s No. 5 starter. I do think, however, that Sal Romano and Tyler Mahle will have something to say about that, and that’s not even taking into consideration the team’s desire for another starter to be added before Spring Training.
I think Michael adds so much more versatility as a pinch hitter, relief pitcher, pinch runner, or even a late-inning/ extra inning replacement in the outfield. In that same interview with SiriusXM Radio, Lorenzen mentioned that he and the team were discussing him being part of outfield groups and batting practice groups during Spring Training. He also said that he’s been hitting the cage almost every day and doing some outfield work as well.
Lorenzen realizes the direction the game of baseball is going. Teams are no longer reliant on players to occupy just one job on the team, but rather want versatility among even their best players. You need look no further than the division-rival Chicago Cubs and what that team is doing. Their All-Star third baseman and former MVP Kris Bryant played in the outfield last season.
The Cincinnati Reds are looking to follow a similar model. Look at what the team is asking of top prospect Nick Senzel. Originally brought up as a third baseman, the club was sure to get Senzel time at shortstop and then primarily second base. With Scooter Gennett putting up huge numbers the last two seasons, the team realized that they needed to adjust their outlook for Senzel, which is why they plan to have him learn how to play in the outfield.
Back in September, I had the pleasure of chatting with Reds prospect and 2018 third-round draft pick Bren Spillane. When I asked him which position he preferred to play first base or the outfield, he was very quick to say that he’ll essentially play anywhere.
"“My versatility gives me the ability to play anywhere and I want to keep it like that. I don’t want to limit myself to one or two positions. I want to be able to have the coach’s confidence to put me anywhere on the field to help the team win.”"
Spillane, just like Michael Lorenzen, gets it. Today’s game is about versatility and how can you best help your team win. Lorenzen is a very team-oriented guy who is also very competitive. I look for Lorenzen to be in David Bell’s ear almost every chance he gets and saying to the Reds’ manager, “Put me in skip.”
While a lot of fans may want to see Michael Lorenzen take the mound every fifth day, I’d rather see him take the mound, the field, or a bat whenever the Reds need him to. Lorenzen is multi-talented and is ready to contribute in any way he can.