With Homer Bailey down for the count with a sprained elbow ligament, the Cincinnati Reds were short a starter. It appears they're going to turn to 2013 Supplemental 1st round draft pick Michael Lorenzen to fill that void, at least for now.
Micheal Lorenzen to pitch Wednesday for #Reds, Mike Leake pushed back to Thursday in Atlanta— C. Trent Rosecrans (@ctrent) April 28, 2015
Lorenzen was one of the absolute last players to get cut in Spring Training, as his March performance turned the heads of Bryan Price and the rest of the Reds' staff. There was even speculation about his chances of making the team as a reliever once he was ruled out of the rotation battle, but instead he was sent to AAA Louisville to continue to work on his repertoire as a starter. So far in 2015, he's done nothing to diminish the Reds' view of him, as his 2.84 ERA in 19 IP and fastball touching 99 mph have continued to impress.
Just over two years ago, Lorenzen was mostly a one pitch flamethrowing closer for Cal State Fullerton, spending most of his time as an outfielder with a bat good enough to garner a few 1st round draft grades as well, but he's one of a recent spate of lightly used pitchers the Reds have drafted with intentions of developing as a starter (with Tony Cingrani and Nick Howard being the other high profile cases). As a result, Lorenzen has only thrown a total of 160.2 innings in the minors since being drafted (along with a handful in the Arizona Fall League in 2013), and despite his high velocity fastball, he has only posted a modest 6.4 K/9 in those innings.
Regardless, there's a lot to like about Lorenzen's pitching arsenal, as JJ Cooper of Baseball America notes. In fact, Lorenzen's upside impressed Baseball Prospectus enough for them to rank him as the #63 prospect in all of the minors entering the 2015 season.
Lorenzen isn't yet on the Reds 40-man roster, so there will need to be a corresponding move to get him there, and as C. Trent noted in the above tweet, that'll need to happen by tomorrow instead of Thursday (which was the day Homer was originally slated to start). Considering the way the Reds handled the designation of Daniel Corcino and Ryan Dennick just weeks ago, keep your eyes peeled for something out of left field.