LA Angels' two-way player Michael Lorenzen has officially given up hitting. It was a decision that came to be due to him being given the chance to start on the mound for the Halos. Lorenzen had originally wanted to be a two-way player for the Cincinnati Reds when he joined the league, and wasn't give the chance.
When Shohei Ohtani came to the league, however, the Reds began giving him that opportunity. After all, at Cal State Fullerton, Lorenzen didn't even want to pitch as much as he did. He just wanted to hit and play center field.
The Reds drafted him to pitch, instead, and after seeing Ohtani do great things as both a hitter and pitcher when he came into the league, they let Lorenzen do both in 2018 and 2019. In 2018, Lorenzen really got after it at the plate; batting .290/.333/.710 (1.043 OPS) in 54 games (31 at-bats). He played right field when he was out there.
He struggled in 2019, however, and was just a pitcher in 2020 and 2021. While he is solid as a defensive outfielder, it wasn't enough to give him more than two plate appearances in the last two years (1 HBP, 1 SO). Expanded rosters were given to teams in 2020 due to the whole nature of the pandemic season, and he was injured a lot in 2021. Now that he's with Anaheim as a starting arm, however, he doesn't have interest in playing on both sides these days.
Michael Lorenzen has been a relief pitcher for the past six years in this league, but will start with the LA Angels.
Michael Lorenzen hasn't been a starting pitcher since his rookie year, but will be one for the LA Angels. This is not how it should be, as Lorenzen has been a much better reliever than a starter in his career. Here are his numbers as a reliever and starter side-by-side (on the left are his numbers as a reliever and on the right are his numbers as a starter):
17-13 record//////////6-10 record
3.74 ERA//////////4.95 ERA
1.284 WHIP//////////1.605 WHIP
.238 BAA//////////.286 BAA
8.1 K per 9 IP//////////6.8 K per 9 IP
Regardless of if he's a viable two-way option or not, he's better as a reliever than a starter. The Angels should have kept Alex Cobb and passed on signing Lorenzen, but this is what the team is working with now. They believe in Lorenzen, and Lorenzen believes in himself enough to the point where he's down to just focus on pitching and take off from the two-way life.