Sunday, October 27, 2013

Reds grooming prospect Michael Lorenzen to transition from outfielder to starting pitcher


In June, the Reds used the No. 38 overall pick to draft Michael Lorenzen, a promising center fielder out of Cal State Fullerton, who slashed .335/.412/.515 for the Titans. Aside from roaming the outfield, Lorenzen did serve as the team's closer as well, recording 19 saves in 22 outings.

Although most scouts envisioned Lorenzen as an everyday position player, Cincinnati had other plans, opting to groom the 6-foot-3 to be a starting pitcher, instead.

This is why Lorenzen, who possesses a plus-fastball (topped out at 99 mph this summmer) and an emerging curveball, was used as a reliever in the minor league system this year. In 22 appearances, all in relief, Lorenzen posted a 3.00 ERA and finished the season at Double-A Pensacola.

Now, Lorenzen is making the transition to starter by honing his skills in the Arizona Fall League. And even though Lorenzen hasn't served as a starting pitcher since he was 12-years-old, he doesn't mind following orders from the Reds, in hopes that it will get him to the big show faster.

"I'm just ready to compete, and I'm working my butt off to get my body in good enough shape -- in pitcher's shape, not center-field shape -- to where I have that longevity and I'm not just a power guy," Lorenzen said. "I'm still going to throw hard and I'm still going to come at you. But I think there's more of a strategy to it than just coming out and throwing my hardest and having the power breaking ball and all that."

Through three starts, Lorenzen hasn't exactly fared well, allowing 19 hits and 14 earned runs in just 9.2 innings pitched, so the switch may take some time getting fully acclimated to. If starting pitching doesn't pan out, Lorenzen does have options, namely going back to the bullpen or to center field, where he boasts good power potential and above average speed.

Lorenzen is currently ranked as the No. 6 prospect in Cincy's system by MLB.com.

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