Shohei Ohtani stands out as the gold standard these days for two-way baseball players.
But the Reds’ Michael Lorenzen is trying to show he should grab some headlines as well.
After becoming the first player since Babe Ruth to get a pitching win, hit a home run and appear in center field in a single game, Lorenzen is starting for the Reds in center field and batting seventh Thursday against the Phillies — his first-ever MLB start at any position other than pitcher.
Lorenzen has appeared in the outfield 18 times for Cincinnati this season and has been called on as a pinch-hitter four times. In his career as a hitter, he has shown his bat is one of the best among pitchers, posting a career slash line of .267/.302/.515 with seven home runs and three stolen bases in just 111 plate appearances. Most impressively, perhaps, last season he homered in three straight plate appearances between June 24 and June 30.
The 27-year-old has been a force for the Reds on the mound in 2019, recording a 3.04 ERA, his lowest since 2016, when he posted a 2.88 number. Lorenzen had struggled in his first season in the majors as a starter in 2015, when he posted a 5.40 ERA, but the move to the bullpen has allowed his upper-90s fastball to play better in shorter stints and his wipeout slider to serve as an effective secondary pitch.
Being an effective two-way player is no stranger to Lorenzen, and it’s part of the reason he has been trusted with acting in this role for the Reds. While still in college with Cal State Fullerton, Lorenzen closed out games for the Titans during his sophomore and junior years. He had a 1.61 ERA in 44.2 innings of work with 37 strikeouts and only nine walks. When he wasn’t closing games, Lorenzen also started in center field. He compiled a career slash line of .324/.394/.478 with 11 home runs and 45 stolen bases in 164 games across his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons.
He was so accomplished with the bat that MLB Pipeline listed him as a center fielder in his draft profile, where he was ranked as the No. 45 player in the 2013 draft class. He wound up being drafted 38th overall by the Reds and debuted in 2015.
Baseball fans might want to tune into the game to see what Lorenzen can do in the starting lineup. He has certainly proven his bat is up to snuff, but he has previously shown his glove is more than capable of providing quality outfield defense.
Source: Read Full Article