The Angels signed two pitchers in Lorenzen and Noah Syndergaard who hadn't been full-time starters for years to be full-time members of their rotation. Both of these pitchers have talent, but that was pretty questionable to me from the start.
After his one-year deal expires Lorenzen is set to hit free agency. The Angels have a need in their rotation, is he the right guy to bring back?
Should the Angels re-sign Michael Lorenzen?
Michael Lorenzen showed some flashes of what he could do this season for the Angels. In his 18 starts, he went 8-6 with a 4.24 ERA. He struck out 85 batters in 97.2 innings pitched and had a 95 ERA+. He was a solid backend starter for the Angels this year.
Lorenzen got off to a good start this season, posting a 3.45 ERA in his first ten starts and averaging six innings per start. He then had three rough starts in a row and found his way on the injured list with a shoulder strain. Lorenzen would miss two months before returning and posting a 2.36 ERA in September.
The 30 year old proved to be a ground ball specialist. His 50.2% ground ball rate placed him in the top 20 among starting pitchers with at least 90 innings pitched. That's a good quality to have when hitters are trying to hit home runs at the rate that they are nowadays.
Lorenzen has two noticeable flaws. One, his strikeouts are low. His 7.8 K/9 was below average and requires the Angels to be better defensively than they are which might cause some trouble. Two, the walks are too high. He walked 4.1/9 this season and has walked 3.8/9 in his career. That number is simply too high.
Something else about Lorenzen is he just doesn't have a full season workload of being a starting pitcher. Being in a six-man rotation should definitely help with that, but even this past year he missed two months with injury.
Lorenzen has topped the 100 inning mark just once in his big league career and that was back in his rookie season of 2015. I get that he was a reliever in the years following up until this season, but that doesn't inspire confidence that he will all of a sudden be ready to give the Angels the 140+ innings they'd want out of a starter.
As of now, the Angels have Shohei Ohtani, Reid Detmers, Jose Suarez, and Patrick Sandoval locked into their 2023 rotation. The Angels could use another front end starter and a back-end starter to round out the rotation.
I wouldn't hate Lorenzen as a back-end starter. I think he showed some flashes of being a really good starter this season and when he's locating he can be solid. The signing does come with some concerns involving his durability and ability to perform at a high enough level. While he was mostly fine this season, a 95 ERA+ is still below average.
If the Angels were able to get Lorenzen at the one-year $6.75 million dollars that he signed for this season I think that makes sense. If not, I might look into a veteran that the Angels can rely on to take the ball every turn through the rotation and give them a chance to win.