Cincinnati Reds Reliever/OF Michael Lorenzen was quietly one of the more interesting players in baseball due to his 2-way status. Lorenzen’s two-way experiment had some very interesting results.
The Cincinnati Reds were the latest team to embark on the two-way player experiment in 2019 deploying Michael Lorenzen as a reliever and an outfielder. Lorenzen was drafted as a two-way star out of Cal State Fullerton before the Reds designated him as a pitcher. The two-way experiment of Lorenzen yielded some interesting data that you probably weren’t aware of.
Michael Lorenzen, Pitcher, was a top 30 Reliever
Lorenzen did an excellent job at his primary function in 2019 throwing 83.1 innings with a 25% K-rate, and 1.2 fWAR. That mark tied him with a bunch of other relievers for top 30 honors in MLB. The most impressive part of Lorenzen’s profile is his contact management. He was second best in the entire league in preventing hitter exit velocity at 84.5 MPH. Lorenzen also has an elite spin rate on his fastball which helps make him a dangerous reliever.
Michael Lorenzen, Outfielder, was an above average defender
Lorenzen played 89 innings primarily in CF in 2019 for a Reds team that lacked a true CF option. In that limited capacity, he managed to be +1 DRS. Statcast’s OAA was also impressed by his work in the OF, ranking him +2 OAA which was the same as others considered premier defenders like Kevin Pillar and Starling Marte. The Reds have defensive question marks Nicholas Castellanos, Jesse Winker in the corners, and Nick Senzel/Shogo Akiyama in CF now so Lorenzen should get plenty of opportunities to increase those inning totals late in games.
Michael Lorenzen, Hitter, hit the living sh*t out of the ball
Go look at this link, now look at it again, that was not an error. Lorenzen had an average exit velocity harder than everyone in baseball except Aaron Judge at 95.7 MPH. Now, obviously Lorenzen’s sample is significantly smaller than everyone else but his ability to make hard contact is real.
He didn’t look his best offensively, only mustering a 56 wRC+ and 1 dinger. Lorenzen hit the ball on the ground 64% of the time and will never be a traditional offensive contributor. That being said, if he can mentally prepare himself to pinch hit and get the ball in the air, he could become a dangerous pinch hit option and the Reds’ 27th man on the roster.
As the Cincinnati Reds look to compete after being a “winner” of the offseason, every win is going to be critical to overtaking the Brewers, Cubs, and Cardinals. Lorenzen is going to play a very key role in this especially on a team with unproven question marks in CF and securing leads out of the bullpen.
Michael Lorenzen might be one of the best athletes in all of baseball and this season could be his two-way coming out party.