Cincinnati Reds: Michael Lorenzen’s early season use as a two-way player

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 23: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch during the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on September 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)

As the Cincinnati Reds continue to struggle to start the 2019 season, let’s take a look at how they have been utilizing Micheal Lorenzen’s abilities, and why they should continue to get him on the field however they can.

In 2018, the entire league was formally introduced to Michael Lorenzen, the hitter. Lorenzen came to the plate four times for the Cincinnati Reds from June 24th through June 30th, hitting 3 home runs and working a walk. Although everyone knew Lorenzen’s hitting ability as a center fielder at Cal State Fullerton, his bat finally shined on the big stage during this remarkable stretch.

Coming into the 2019 season, there were rumblings that the new coaching staff had plans of utilizing Lorenzen’s ability in every way possible. These rumors proved to be true from day one as Lorenzen saw time as a defensive replacement in center field on Opening Day. Lorenzen has appeared in every game since then, showcasing his skills as a pitcher, hitter, fielder, and even baserunner.

It’s easy to see why the new coaching staff has a desire to utilize Lorenzen’s ability. David Bell and company have been on record saying they are big into the new age of thinking and finding any sort of competitive advantage they can possibly get. Lorenzen can be that competitive advantage. Many baseball minds these days would scoff at the idea of using a pitcher in a role that could potentially injure them or cause stress on their arm. However, Lorenzen was cut from a different cloth.

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If you’ve never spent a day marveling at Michael Lorenzen’s workout videos on his Instagram account, I suggest you make some time for it in the near future. The man is an absolute freak, with athletic ability that many of us could only dream of.

Major League scouts recognized this athletic ability from Lorenzen coming out of college. Lorenzen had many scouts giving him above-average scores of 60s and 70s for his defense and arm on the scouting scale. Some believed he could have been a big league hitter, but the Cincinnati Reds ultimately decided to make him a full-time pitcher.

Lorenzen has seen success as a pitcher in his major league career thus far. The Reds attempted to bring him up as a starter through the minor leagues, but once in Cincinnati, it did not work as they thought it would.

However, once he was moved to the bullpen, Lorenzen flashed the ability to be an important late-inning arm. A career 3.67 ERA and 7.9 K/9 out of the pen, compared to a 5.13 ERA and 6.3 K/9 as a starter, have shown that Lorenzen’s talents are best utilized in short spurts. This might be the way the coaching staff needs to use Lorenzen.

While it’s obvious that Lorenzen has shown that he can be an effective pitcher and a good hitter, many people might not realize that he is also an above-average fielder. Due to the fact that he has been a pitcher his entire professional career, it is reasonable to question why a team would put him into a late game situation as a center fielder, arguably one of the most important positions on the field.

However, this coaching staff fully trusts Michael Lorenzen and his fielding ability. Like I said, this man is one of the most athletic people in all of baseball. With the loss of Billy Hamilton this past offseason, some have even gone as far to say that Lorenzen is now the best defensive player the Cincinnati Reds have in the outfield.

Although it might be a stretch to start comparing Lorenzen’s dual abilities to players like Babe Ruth or even Shohei Ohtani, Lorenzen’s abilities are no joke. Having a player like this on your roster can prove to be very vital, and maybe something that can help the Red’s for the next few years.

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Lorenzen has the ability to be a late inning reliever, the fifth bat off the bench, and a late game defensive replacement. That’s not something that many teams, if any, can say they have on their roster. Keep an eye on how Michael Lorenzen is used this season, and don’t be surprised if he is continuously seen on your TV screen during important, late game situations in 2019.