The Lottery Prize

Michael Lorenzen earned a reputation as a stellar defensive center fielder while at Fullerton but coming into the draft there were questions regarding his bat. It appears that Cincinnati answered those questions when they drafted the collegiate closer as a pitcher with the 38th overall pick.

In the past years teams have picked up top rated prospects after the first round in the supplemental or "sandwich" round before the beginning of the second round. That has been changed and this year begins the competitive balance rounds. In an attempt to maintain balance in the league the ten smallest markets and ten lowest revenue teams were entered into a lottery for one of six picks awarded in the Competitive Balance Round A between the first and second rounds with the records of their previous seasons affecting chances of winning. The remaining teams were reentered along with anyone who received revenue sharing for a chance to receive one of six picks in the Competitive Balance Round B after the second round.

97 wins put Cincinnati at a disadvantage but they got lucky and drew one of the first six selections. With that they used the 38th overall pick to land Cal St. Fullerton's Michael Lorenzen. He opted to go to college out of high school instead of pursuing the opportunity that came with the Rays seventh round selection in 2010. Now that they have the rights to the 6'3"/195# right-hander the next question is what will they do with him?

As an outfielder Lorenzen has developed a reputation for excellent coverage of center field with a strong arm. He's a good athlete and hit .297 his junior season with some gap power. There are some questions on his ability to hit at the next level, but given Cincinnati's recent history they were probably more interested in the mid to upper 90's fastball he threw when he took the mound to close games for Fullerton.

Some analysts anticipated that his pitching would be kind of a safety net in case things did not pan out for him at the plate. It appears it's a backup plan the Reds want to utilize initially because they selected him as a pitcher. He was picked very early for a reliever and given recent history it would be no surprise that the Reds might give him a try as a starter like they did after converting former Rice closer Tony Cingrani who they picked in the third round in 2011.

The Reds have shown affection for arms that generate superb velocity and have been patient with the development of secondary pitches. In Lorenzen's case he already has an impressive slider and the Reds utilize special instructor Mario Soto for teaching the changeup. The slider projects as an out-pitch making him good closer material. The Reds have been patient with young pitchers in their minor league rotations as they work on developing a third offering.

Because of questions with Lorenzen's bat some considered him a reach for such an early pick. It appears the Reds decided to go ahead and reach past his skills as an outfielder to put him in their pipeline as a pitcher. At Fullerton he kept a 1.99 ERA with a 20/4 K/BB ratio over 22 innings. He's already 21 years old and will likely begin playing professionally during the short season at Billings this year.

Perhaps playing in the field could actually be a backup plan for Lorenzen. There are no concerns on his glove in the middle of the outfield and he might even be considered a late-inning defensive replacement if team's didn't typically have one of their best defenders there already. Considering the Reds reluctance to give up on live arms that can light up a radar that probably won't be considered any time soon. This young man comes out of a top-notch collegiate program and is an intriguing prospect. Don't be surprised if he climbs the Cincinnati organization while taking a turn in a rotation every fifth day. He was rated the #50 prospect by Scout.com and appears in mid/late 40's spots in some other lists so any reach the Reds made doesn't appear to be a long one. If his stuff off the mound causes him to turn into an effective starter then he'll look like a bargain at #38.

Other Organizational News:

There was great anticipation in Cincinnati for a series against division leader St. Louis at Great American Ball Park. The Cardinals scored first with three runs in the fourth inning and the Reds never really challenged after that in a 9-2 loss. Mike Leake labored through five innings, allowing three runs for the loss. Logan Ondrusek got knocked around for four runs in the sixth. The Reds scratched across a run in the sixth and seventh innings off RBI hits from Shin-soo Choo and Jay Bruce. Devin Mesoraco had two of his team's seven hits while Choo reached with a double and a walk.

Louisville allowed a run in the eighth that cost them a 2-1 loss to visiting Norfolk. Yohan Pino made his first start of the season a good one, allowing one run on five hits in six innings while striking out six without a walk. Jose Diaz followed him with two innings of relief over which he allowed the game-winner and took the loss. Jason Donald had three hits and Neftali Soto added two more including a solo home run that provided his team's only run. Josh Fellhauer also had two hits while Billy Hamilton arrived safely with a hit and a walk.

Pensacola fell behind when they allowed runs in four consecutive innings in a 6-1 loss at Mississippi. Tim Crabbe took the loss by allowing five runs (two earned) off eight hits in five innings. Travis Mattair singled in his team's only run in the fifth. Luis Durango had three hits in the game and Ryan LaMarre added two.

Bakersfield allowed three runs in the fourth inning against visiting Lake Elsinore and the Storm held on to beat the Blaze 3-2. Jonathan Moscot took the loss after allowing three runs off seven hits in in four innings. Brooks Pinckard, Kyle Lotzkar and Jimmy Moran combined for five scoreless innings of relief. Kyle Waldrop's solo home run in the bottom of the ninth was not enough for the comeback. Juan Silverio and Juan Silva both reached safely twice for the Blaze with a hit and a walk each.

Dayton scored two in the tenth inning to win a 12-10 slugfest at Bowling Green. The Dragons took an early four-run lead in the first inning. Later they took a brief lead with a five-run eighth inning that included a two-run triple by Brent Peterson and two-run double from Beau Amaral. Zach Vincej led his team with four hits, two walks, two RBI, and three runs scored. Six Dragons contributed two hits each to their team total of eighteen: Amaral, Jeff Gelalich, Jesse Winker, Seth Mejias-Brean, Junior Arias, and Brandon Dailey. Starter Pedro lasted only four innings and got no decision after allowing five runs. Sean Lucas was tagged for three runs in one inning which cost him a blown save, but he was also rewarded with the win. Ben Klimesh retired the side in order in the tenth inning for the save.


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