Scouting Newest Reds Pitcher Michael Lorenzen


Last night, C. Trent Rosencrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweeted that the Reds have called up prospect Michael Lorenzen. Lorenzen will make his major league debut this afternoon against the Brewers.

Drafted in the supplementary first round of the 2013 draft, the Reds converted Lorenzen from an outfielder to a full-time pitcher. The results have been tremendous.

The righty has rapidly progressed through the Reds minor league system: he jumped from Rookie Ball all the way to Double-A during his draft year.

He spent the entire 2014 season at Double-A Pensacola, throwing to an impressive 3.13 ERA in 24 starts at the level. His growth was evident in recent prospect rankings, as Lorenzen went from an unknown quantity to’s 63rd best prospect in the game.

The 6’3” hurler is not without shortcomings, however, as he has struggled to post strong K/BB ratios throughout his brief pro career. Last year, Lorenzen posted just a 6.3 K/9 and walked more than half as many batters.

And while Lorenzen has not posted increasing strikeout numbers during his career, his improved control minimizes his BB/K problem. Over the past three seasons, the Reds prospects’ walk totals have improved nearly four whole points, starting as high as 5.6 BB/9 in 2013 and falling to 1.9 in three Triple-A starts this season.

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In the major leagues, Lorenzen likely projects as a number three starter on a good team.

His fastball can hover anywhere between 93-95 MPH, and his slider and changeup also grade out as above-average offerings.

Check out this video (courtesy of ROTOScouting) of Lorezen throwing against the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Dodgers.

In this clip, Lorenzen showcases the premiere athleticism, strength, and build that had some scouting him as a legitimate centerfield prospect prior to the draft. The young Red has a very repeatable delivery and effortlessly tosses the ball to the catcher. Such a smooth delivery should limit injuries to Lorenzen’s arm.

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About 45 seconds in, Lorzenen also reveals his nasty changeup. He shows good deception by maintaining his arm speed even when throwing an off-speed pitch, and the change badly fools the Lookouts batter.

Lorenzen also could contribute to the Reds in an unexpected manner. In a later report, ROTOScouting notes that as a premium athlete, Lorenzen could be one of the better hitters in the National League, further enhancing his value.

Lorenzen also added a curveball to his arsenal last season. He has yet to perfect the pitch, but if his curve can develop into an average offering, the righty may be able to outperform his ceiling and become a top-of-the-line starter.

In short, Reds fans have a lot to like regarding Michael Lorenzen. He’s athletic, strong, has a good repertoire, and should be able to avoid serious long-term injuries. Plus, it will be fun to watch Lorenzen knock in a few runs with his bat.

If his major league debut goes anything like his pro career, it should be an exciting one for Cincinnati.