Cincinnati Reds: Michael Lorenzen will see plenty of the time in the outfield

MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - AUGUST 27: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Michael Lorenzen’s versatility will likely be put to the test in 2020. Look for the Cincinnati Reds reliever to find a home in the outfield early and often.

Michael Lorenzen saw action in 100 games last season. Depending on how many games are actually played in 2020, Lorenzen could surpass that mark. The Cincinnati Reds reliever has the rare athletic ability to not only be a top-flight relief pitcher, but also play in the outfield. With a shortened season, David Bell will definitely rely heavily on Lorenzen to fill in when needed.

While his ability at the plate is a bit of a question mark, Lorenzen did hit four home runs in 2018. However, with more at-bats in 2019, Lorenzen hit just .208 with only one home run. For his career, Lorenzen has a .235 batting average with seven home runs and 24 home runs.

While there are other outfielders on the Reds roster who are certainly better options in the batter’s box than Michael Lorenzen, it’s hard to argue that there’s a better athlete. You need look no further than the catch that Lorenzen made against the Pittsburgh Pirates last August after taking over in right field.

With the delay to the 2020 Major League Baseball season, we’re likely to see fewer than 162 games on the docket. That said, the player’s association and the owners are said to be committed to playing as many games as possible. That could mean baseball into November and a slew of doubleheaders on the schedule.

Earlier this offseason, Blog Red Machine looked at three bold predictions for Lorenzen’s 2020 season, and suggested that Mikey Biceps could see several starts in the outfield. That prediction could very well come to fruition with an increased number of doubleheaders likely to take place this coming season.

Expanded rosters are also likely in the works, but an exact number isn’t known just yet. If teams are given an extra roster spot or two to help offset the workload of an increased number of games packed into a shorter season, the Reds have a few outfielders who could fit the bill. Aristides Aquino, Mark Payton and Travis Jankowski come to mind.

However, with the flexibility that Michael Lorenzen provides, perhaps the Reds would be better served to look at other positions of need, such as a backup at first base like Matt Davidson. If the number of pitchers isn’t capped, adding a couple of relievers could be more advantageous for David Bell and the Cincinnati Reds.

What might an expanded Reds roster look like?. Next

Once a start date is set for the 2020 major league season, coaches and front office executives will have to figure out how to best use those versatile players that are not pigeon-holed into playing one particular position. Thankfully for the Cincinnati Reds, Michael Lorenzen has the ability to throw an inning of relief and then head to the outfield to close out the game.