Michael Lorenzen made his 2021 spring training debut on Friday night. The Cincinnati Reds pitcher came out of the bullpen following a 3-inning start by José De León . For Lorenzen, the numbers he put up weren’t the best. He allowed three runs – all on a 3-run homer by Jose Rojas – in 1.2 innings with a walk and a strikeout. But for Lorenzen the numbers didn’t mean much and he’s not concerned about trying to impress the organization this spring given his past success.
“I’ve told them, you’ve seen me throw for six years,” said Lorenzen. “You know what I have, you know what I have to offer – there’s a pretty large sample size with what the hitters do to my stuff. If you’re relying on spring training to make a decision, it’s pretty foolish. I don’t think that’s what they’re going to do – we’re a lot better than that. With DJ (pitching coach Derek Johnson) and David (manager David Bell), they’re really smart. They’re not going to make their decision off of this. They had the belief in me to make two starts in do-or-die situations late down the stretch, I don’t think they’re going to make a call based off of spring training numbers of whether or not I’m in the rotation.”
Spring training numbers don’t tell us much. We’ve known that for a long time. There are simply too many factors at play – who are you facing on the other side, are you or the other guy(s) working on something specific that day, who was the defense on the field for you, and a hundred other potential variables that don’t exactly show up in a regular season game.
The one thing that Michael Lorenzen did note, though, is that it’s the stuff holding up over a long season as a starter rather than in a smaller sample size of innings as a reliever.
“The question isn’t ‘if is my stuff good’ or if I can get hitters out, it’s can he do it for 150-180 plus innings,” Lorenzen said. “And that’s really the decision they’re going to need to make, and I can’t (make the decision). It is freeing with who we have leading us and where their mind is at and the ability to trust that is really freeing.”
The last time that Michael Lorenzen was a starting pitcher was when he was a rookie in the 2015 season. That year didn’t go well for Lorenzen, but he’s also a very different pitcher now than he was then. Not only is he far more experienced, he has changed almost his entire repertoire of pitches since then, too. It’s a valid question to ask as to whether his stuff would hold up over a full season’s worth of innings. But that same question can be asked of everyone that he’s in competition with for a spot in the rotation, too.
You can listen to his full interview after his appearance below: