Cincinnati Reds spring training: Five most intriguing players to watch

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds scores a run. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - AUGUST 09: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds scores a run. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /
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Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches.
CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 3: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Michael Lorenzen, Reds pitcher

In terms of pitchers, no one intrigues me more this spring than Michael Lorenzen. Though he hasn’t yet won the job outright, for all intents and purposes, Lorenzen will be the team’s No. 5 starter this season. How well will Lorenzen’s transition from the bullpen to the back of the rotation go?

I think Lorenzen will pass the test with flying colors. Yes, the last time Lorenzen was called upon to be more than just a spot-starter, things did not go so well. During his rookie campaign in 2015, Lorenzen went 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA in 27 games, 21 of which were starts. Lorenzen posted a 5.45 ERA in those 21 starts, surrendered 17 home runs, walked 55 batters, and struck out just 78.

However, that was a long time ago, and Michael Lorenzen is a much different pitcher now. During his three starts in 2018, Lorenzen put up a 2.63 ERA over 13.2 innings. Last season, Lorenzen earned two starts near the end of the season and posted a 2.79 ERA over 9.2 innings of work. All together, Lorenzen’s last five starts have resulted in 2.72 ERA and 19 punch outs over 23.1 innings.

The bigger intrigue surrounding Lorenzen is how David Bell will use the athletic hurler on his days off. Here’s what Lorenzen had to say to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com as it relates to what his impact could be on the days in between starts:

"“I think just having the day off after I pitch is more than enough for me. I think the coaching staff will decide if it will be beneficial to use me in a game the day before I pitch. That’s going to be up to them, but obviously, I’m up for it.”"

Michael Lorenzen could be a pinch runner, a pinch hitter, he could be late-inning substitute in the outfield. There’s a myriad of things Lorenzen has already proven he can do, but this season more than any other, might be his best opportunity to showcase all his abilities.