Michael Lorenzen’s 2019 campaign showed versatily unlike any other member of the Cincinnati Reds. Lorenzen performed well in multiple roles this season.
Looking back on the 2019 Cincinnati Reds, there were so many positives with the pitching staff. Michael Lorenzen exemplified both feats of having a solid year on the mound, being a constant threat at the plate, while showing he could roam the outfield with the likes of everyday players was none other than Michael Lorenzen.
Lorenzen is a phenomenal athlete. At 27-years old, the California native was given opportunities by David Bell, to not only be heavily relied in high-leverage situations out of the bullpen, but also had versatility to be a part of Bell’s infamous double switches, being inserted late in games to pinch hit and then remain in the game as an outfielder.
Due to late season injuries to both Nick Senzel and Jesse Winker, Michael Lorenzen found his way into the starting lineup during six games in September. Very few players possess this triple threat ability, with Rick Ankiel and Micah Owings coming to mind. However, Lorenzen is the type of player who could be a flamethrower out of the pen, a threat at the plate, and play stellar defense if need be.
Lorenzen’s desire to be used in a number of ways opened up opportunities for him to appear in a total of 105 games this season for the Cincinnati Reds. His appearances out of a realigned Reds bullpen totaling 73 games and 83 innings with a 2.92 ERA were all career-highs.
Lorenzen sported a 3.04 strikeout to walk ratio with 85 strikeouts and just 28 walks, while giving up only one home run and three walks per nine innings pitched. He also set a new career-high with seven saves, leaving many fans wondering if he could be the heir apparent closer should the Cincinnati Reds choose to part ways in the offseason with Raisel Iglesias.
From the dish, as the number of plate appearances grew, opposing pitchers had more of a scouting report to work with. In spite of having to view Michael Lorenzen as more of a threat than the average pitcher, he finished the season with a .208 batting average, one home run, and six RBIs.
Lorenzen’s slugging percentage of .313 made it pitchers have to contend with a constant threat at the plate. Due to Lorenzen’s athleticism, David Bell even utilized his speed as a pinch runner on seven occasions.
Finally, let’s not lose sight of Lorenzen’s ability in the outfield. He posted 27 putouts and one assist. Lorenzen’s athleticism shined the most in the ninth inning of a July 31st affair with the hated Pittsburgh Pirates where he made an acrobatic catch in right field that helped to seal a 4-1 win against the Pirates. Raisel Iglesias stood on the mound and tipped his cap, knowing that Lorenzen had just saved him from a potential crisis in the ninth inning.
We don’t know exactly how David Bell will utilize Michael Lorenzen in 2020. There is no other player on the team that possesses the athleticism and versatility Lorenzen has shown. With a career WAR of 6.0, the ability to pitch in high-leverage situations, hit the ball out of the park at a moment’s notice, swipe a base, or track down a fly ball in the gap, there will be a place for Mikey Biceps for the foreseeable future.