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Friday, February 22, 2019

Reds having Michael Lorenzen prepare as a two-way player

For decades, a legitimate “two-way player” — a player who functions as both a pitcher and as a position player — was nothing but a fantasy. The skill sets required for both are too distinct and require too much prep work, it was thought. The Angels’ Shohei Ohtani shattered that illusion in 2018, posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances as a hitter while posting a 3.31 ERA in 51 2/3 innings as a pitcher.

Since then, several more players have been considered in two-way roles. The Rangers signed Matt Davidson earlier this month and could potentially use him as a corner infielder as well as a reliever. Also earlier this month, James Loney signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters, who plan to use him as both a first baseman and as a pitcher.

You can add Michael Lorenzen of the Reds to that list.’s Mark Sheldon reports that the Reds will have Lorenzen prepare this spring as a two-way player. He could both start and relieve while occasionally playing in the outfield. Lorenzen, in fact, took batting practice with the outfielders on Thursday. Previously, he had taken batting practice as extra work following a workout with fellow pitchers.

It’s going to be interesting to see how long this trend lasts- especially given MLB’s current seemingly-insatiable lust for relievers….


QLE Posted: February 22, 2019 at 06:43 AM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: michael lorenzen, reds, two-way players

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   1. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: February 22, 2019 at 08:27 AM (#5817279)
Lorenzen may be the Reds best defensive centerfielder. That was his primary position in college.
   2. Tom Nawrocki Posted: February 22, 2019 at 08:36 AM (#5817281)
Lorenzen hit .290/.333/.710 last year, with four homers in 31 at-bats. For his career, he's at .250/.276/.500 in 84 at-bats.
   3. Dolf Lucky Posted: February 22, 2019 at 08:56 AM (#5817288)
Lorenzen hit .290/.333/.710 last year, with four homers in 31 at-bats.

With three of those home runs coming on consecutive at-bats, spread over three separate games in the course of a pretty good week.
   4. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: February 22, 2019 at 08:57 AM (#5817289)
Lorenzen may be the Reds best defensive centerfielder. That was his primary position in college.

That wouldn't surprise me. He's an amazing athlete. Seriously, that water cup trick.
   5. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: February 22, 2019 at 08:58 AM (#5817290)
Doing that as a pitcher who usually gets courtesy fastballs is one thing, but if his walk rate is genuinely anywhere near as low as the small major league sample suggests, as a semi-regular hitter he's likely to be quickly exposed as a guy you can get out without having to throw him strikes.
   6. Zonk Sits on the Stool next to Slats Steely Posted: February 22, 2019 at 09:06 AM (#5817292)
It makes me sad that Brooks Kieschnick cannot get a shout-out in any of these articles.... I mean, it was only 15 years ago - and while he was no great shakes, he was a passable PH/RP in 2003-2004.... Just had the misfortune of pretty good year at the plate in 2003, but not so good on the mound; then reversing it in 2004.

Yet - it seems like no piece on two-way players ever mentions him.... It's Ohtani and "nobody has tried this in forever!"
   7. TDF, trained monkey Posted: February 22, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5817312)
It makes me sad that Brooks Kieschnick cannot get a shout-out in any of these articles
Micah Owens wasn't a position player, but he did sport a non-horrible .736 OPS as a PH over 48 PA (as most players do, he hit better when he wasn't PHing - .834 OPS over 171 PA). His overall OPS+ was 106, better than Kieschnick.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: February 22, 2019 at 10:16 AM (#5817315)
It makes me sad that Brooks Kieschnick cannot get a shout-out in any of these articles....
They don't want to go through the trouble of figuring out the spelling of his last name!
   9. Howie Menckel Posted: February 22, 2019 at 10:43 AM (#5817331)
hey, Owings is even harder to spell!
   10. Master of the Horse Posted: February 22, 2019 at 11:55 AM (#5817354)
That is one seriously ripped mf. Damn
   11. DanG Posted: February 22, 2019 at 12:00 PM (#5817358)
The only player with 400 PA as both P and PH.
   12. Spahn Insane Posted: February 22, 2019 at 12:03 PM (#5817359)
According to Baseball Reference, there have been only 11 pitchers to OPS over 1.000 (min. 30 PA). The only ones to do it in the 2000’s are Lorenzen last year, Micah Owings in 2007 (1.033) and Dontrelle Willis in 2011 (1.032).

2011 was Willis's last season in MLB. He put up a 79 ERA+ and 174 OPS+ for the Reds.

I have no recollection whatsoever of his even pitching for the Reds, so there you have it.
   13. Baldrick Posted: February 22, 2019 at 12:18 PM (#5817367)
2011 was Willis's last season in MLB. He put up a 79 ERA+ and 174 OPS+ for the Reds.

18.9 WAR from age 21-24 and 0.8 WAR from 25 onward (all of the positive work coming from his bat). So depressing.
   14. Rally Posted: February 22, 2019 at 03:54 PM (#5817441)
Bobby Darwin started his career as a pitcher and made it to the big leagues as a 19 year old in his first pro season, for the 1962 Angels. He started one game, it did not go well, and it was 7 years before he saw a major league mound again.

Since there was no DH at the time, he got plenty of chances to hit in the minors and showed some power, but also terrible K/W rates. For example, he hit 287/324/535, but struck out half the time and had a 64-4 K-W. He became an outfielder in 1970 and his K-W rates were not good, but they weren't out of place or anything. Made it back to the big leagues and from 1972-74 he led the league in whiffs each year, and averaged 22 homers, 88 RBI, 136 K, and 40 walks as a fulltime player for the Twins.

   15. RMc accompanies the Griffmen to Augusta Posted: February 22, 2019 at 08:17 PM (#5817500)
What, teams don't already have enough g@ddamn pitchers? You gotta ask the frickin' position players to pitch, too...?!
   16. base ball chick Posted: February 22, 2019 at 09:45 PM (#5817518)
i remember dontrelle hitting a homer to the upper deck of RF in the Box - he could really hit. and so could micah owings

am really impressed by michael lorenzen's gumnastics ability - have never seen a gymnast or circus performer as tall as he is - i guess they told him he was too tall for gymnastics

and his body - well, let's just say (to keep it very g-rated and a lot cleaner than mah imagination) he gives bradley awesomeness more than a run for his money and ima bout to change mah screen saver
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: February 22, 2019 at 10:10 PM (#5817521)
ima bout to change mah screen saver

   18. Perry Posted: February 23, 2019 at 02:49 PM (#5817602)
Mel Queen came up through the Reds' system as an outfielder, hitting 25 homers in AAA at age 21, but didn't hit in the majors and wasn't going to crack the lineup, although he was a very good defensive outfielder. He switched to pitching AT THE MAJOR LEAGUE LEVEL and went 14-8, 2.76 (137 ERA+, 5.0 WAR) in 1967. Then he wrecked his arm and only had one more good year, as a reliever in 1971, and was finished at 30. But for that one year he was amazing.

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