Reds tab versatile Fullerton player with second pick
CINCINNATI -- A pitcher and center fielder for of Cal-State Fullerton, Michael Lorenzen believes he can do it all -- pitching, hitting and playing a position in the field.
Selected by the Reds with the 38th overall pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft during the competitive balance round on Thursday night, it appears that Lorenzen will get a shot at doing all three.
A 21-year-old, Lorenzen was 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 19 saves in 2013 for the Titans. In 22 2/3 innings, he walked four and struck out 20. He also batted .335 with seven home runs, 53 RBIs and 12 steals.
"They'll allow me to swing the bat and try to prove to them that I can hit. So I'm just going to continue to do both," Lorenzen said. "I think that with my work ethic and athleticism that I have that I have the ability to continue that in professional ball, and we'll just see where that takes me from there. "
According to Reds senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley, the Reds' initial plan is to have Lorenzen pitch.
"He comes in, he's 95-98 mph. We do think, if Michael wants to do that, he could get to the big leagues pretty quickly doing that," Buckley said. "He's also a very good prospect as a [position] player, so we're going to kind have a unique plan with him and we're going to try to let him do a little bit of both."
It appears that one way or another, Lorenzen will get to feature his right arm in professional baseball.
"It's the best arm I've ever seen," Fullerton head coach Rick Vanderhook told the Orange County Register in April. "We try to use him on the mound when it matters. We haven't overdone it. Sometimes we're taking infield and I see him in the outfield, and he wasn't on the list, and I say, 'What are you doing? Everybody knows you can throw.'"
Ranked the 45th overall prospect by MLB.com, Lorenzen kept his expectations low and tried not to make any predictions.
"We had team practice and we had some video to watch, and I spent a lot of my time with the team just hanging out with them," Lorenzen said. "I didn't watch too much of the Draft, I didn't pay attention to too much of the Draft. I was still excited, of course. It's a day that you look forward to your whole life almost. It was a good balance of waiting for it, seeing what happens and knowing that God will be in control of whatever would happen."
Lorenzen drew interest from the Reds going into the Draft process but was still surprised to be selected by them.
"And I'm really excited," Lorenzen said. "It's a great fan base the Cincinnati Reds have and I'm excited to try and get up there as quick as possible. And if I can help the team as a pitcher, if I can help the team in center field with my bat, then that's what I want to do."
For their third and final selection on Thursday, the Reds used their second-round pick (67th overall) to take third baseman Kevin Franklin out of Gehr High School in California.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, Franklin batted .448 with 37 RBIs in 28 games this season. He is currently committed to play for Arizona State University.
"Big power hitter, a very good athlete for a big guy," Buckley said. "We've seen him a lot, we saw him all last summer. Really athletic kid for his size and has corner power."
Day 2 of the Draft continues with Rounds 3-10, streamed live on MLB.com on Friday, beginning with a preview show at 12:30 p.m. ET. And Rounds 11-40 will be streamed live on MLB.com on Saturday, starting at 1 p.m.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. You can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.