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:

44 Responses

  1. Vada

    Release or trade him. Working out and building stamina and strength off season does not equal pitching skills. Let him try earning a spot in the outfield or infield. He is out of his skill set on the pitching mound. I seriously doubt he could even dominant in AAA. It’s bad enough the fans have to suffer with performances by overpaid and aging players at 1B, 2B, and RF. Signing expensive contracts for players way past their prime will not bring a pennant. I am not even sure Lorensen had a prime season. I can cross my fingers and hope for an unrealistic season but ultimately Reality will ALWAYS WIN in the end. An 85-77 season is more likely in 2021. With this team reaching the playoffs is a longshot, advancing past the first round is pure fantasy. And I am not being negative, I am a Realist who is perceived as being negative. There’s a HUGE difference. I lived through 1975 and 1976 and have been anticipating a rebirth of the Big Red Machine. But knowing how the current owner thinks my anticipation of a rebirth no longer even reaches the level of fantasy. I have reached the point of just trying to enjoy baseball for itself. And once that desire is snuffed I will end up finding a new past time to enjoy. Between the owner and mlb commissioner I fear baseball will become a thing of the past. The two are quickly destroying what little fun is left. The mlb needs HARD SALARY CAPS & MINIMUMS to ensure a more level playing field. Now that’s more of a fantasy than a revival of the Big Red Machine. I considered a huge boost in my enthusiasm this year but I dread the experience of another letdown year. I’ve been a diehard fan since 1961 (ask my family). But even they know there is a limit as to how long it takes a person to break under pressure. This owner can continue saying he cares about the team and fans but have him close his eyes and you will see $$ on his eyelids. If I was a multi billionaire I would buy the Reds and bring FUN back to the game by going without any manager or coaches. These players are skilled adults and together should be capable of running a winning team. Just watch the movie Mr. Baseball and see what happens when a team is allowed to HAVE FUN. And take notice that it was a player who changed the team’s attitude, not coaches or manager, or the owners. Mr. Baseball is right: it’s a GAME, so have FUN. Before anyone says it, yes, that’s only a movie. To which I would reply: think back when you were growing up, which gave you more fun: playing sandlot or organized baseball? A game is not a business and neither is a business a game, but in sports it should remain a game of fun. Sad to say it isn’t anymore. My biggest fear is that this “water boarding” pressure year after year will break me. Please, please, somebody out there who LOVES the game, please buy this team before the fans lose heart in the game itself.

    • Corey D

      I’m sorry that you feel this way. Let me know if you want to talk about it.

      • CFD3000

        Funniest comment of 2021 so far, right there.

      • rex

        I honestly understand it…I’m still upset over the Nick Esasky trade.

    • LDS

      As a fellow Reds fan since the 60s, I agree the team needs a lot of work. But whether Lorenzen starts, relieves, or is traded is the least of the team’s issues. Moustakas and Castellanos aren’t that old. They may be productive this season. Votto is done but won’t admit it (I’ll be happy to be proven wrong). The issue is the management, front office, and ownership. And sadly, that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon. And the SS situation thus far this spring hasn’t impressed.

    • Tom Mitsoff

      I followed the Big Red Machine every day in 1975 and 76 and was too young at the time to appreciate what I was watching. That team is on the short list of greatest teams of all time, and I really don’t expect to see another team like it in my lifetime — Reds or any other franchise.

      • Daytonnati

        Tom – I was a little older than you and I had an older brother who was a fan from the late 50s or so. He kept telling me “don’t take this for granted.” We lived in Dayton and probably attended 20 or so games a year from ’69 to Pete leaving. Great times. I tell people, “for a few seasons, we were the Yankees, the Celtics, the Lakers, the Patriots.”

    • vegastypo

      I’d settle for ownership not lying to me about “reallocation of resources” or whatever the exact words were when players are dumped, and then not reallocating them at all. (While we have no shortstop, an obvious and acknowledged need.)

    • Jim

      U are way off b?se on Lorenzen u no nothing about b?seball. About any team in b?seball would love to have him on roster.

    • 2020ball

      Did you just use a fictional comedy as an analogy for how a MLB team should operate?

  2. TR

    I like to see a player gradually get it together in spring training and approach the regular season in an upbeat manner. A flat spring training, IMO, often portends a so-so season. I’m sure there’s much stat info that proves me wrong.

    • VaRedsFan

      The team goes thru this every Spring. Then when the bell rings, you get a handfull of players (Votto to be specific) that start off ice cold for 2 months. Then people will be saying it’s still early…wait until the weather warms….wait til school is out ….wait wait wait….wait until next year.

  3. Mark Beckman

    I’d like to know why Wade Miley is a lock for the rotation. I would rather see Lorenzen and Antone in the rotation ahead of Wade Miley.

    • TOM

      I agree Mark. I believe Miley’s best days are behind him. As of right now Antone should definitely be in the rotation. As far as Lorenzen goes I think ita wait & see.

  4. Hotto4Votto

    Lorenzen’s absolutely correct about ST results. I would hope the Reds decision makers have the roster 95% known before ST even starts. You’re really looking to see if guys added something new or different and what kind of shape they arrived in. Antone showing up last with improved velocity is an example of that. Every year we have ST darlings, and almost every time they turn into pumpkins when the clock strikes midnight in the regular season.

  5. Roger Garrett

    Miley will start if healthy and so will Luis,Sonny and Mahle so there is one starting spot open.While Lorenzen may not feel he has anything to prove it appears that De Leon and Antone do feel that way.I have always felt Mike should start but the Reds have never felt that way after 2015 so he would be better served to do less talking and better pitching.

    • MBS

      I am not sold on Miley getting a starting position, or Lorenzen. Both have the edge over the competition. It’s their job to lose, but the lose caveat is still there.

      • Doc

        If Miley is a lock, then I am pessimistic about the season, not based on Miley personally, but based on not putting your best on the field. He did nothing last year to deserve being handed a spot. Antone, DeLeon, Lorenzen, whichever prove to be superior during the spring, should be in the rotation, with Miley and odd man out of the other three heading to the bullpen. If we need a LH starter, Finnegan might be a better choice than Miley. If you want to be the best, you have to put your best on the field.

  6. JB WV

    He’s far from a lock considering Bell’s comments, but if Antone isn’t in the starting rotation somethings wrong. Lorenzen and Mikey are, in my mind, fighting it out for the fifth spot. If Miley is healthy he should get it as the only lefty competing.

  7. MBS

    I was happy to see Senzel put a charge into one, and Rodriguez keeps picking up hits. Rodriguez and Heineman are my 25th and 26th roster spots.

    I feel like Gordon and Farmer are in direct competition, both utility guys that have a chance to become a starting SS.

    Holder and Rodriguez are real SS, so I see them in direct competition for the backup role.

    Blandino is a dark horse candidate, and Garcia is not in competition for a roster spot when camp breaks.

    • Tomn

      I’ve seen heiniman have one solid hit. A double off the wall. I’ve seen him K at least A few times. I’d take Payton over him any day.

    • Tomn

      In my mind Farmer deserves to be the starting SS. He’s bashing the ball. And he’s a very good fielder.

      • Jimbo44CN

        So far I agree. He is a pretty fair hitter and his fielding is not going to kill you. Also with the weight loss he seems more nimble than last year. Good for him. Go Farmer.!

      • MBS

        I like Farmer and I’m intrigued by Gordon. I want to see it play out over the spring.

  8. Eric

    I guess I’ll comment on a few of these ideas. On lorenzen I’m in the camp of her should start…too many times last year he came in and gave them 3 4 5 solid innings only to come in a day or two later and get crushed…imo he is better off pitching every fifth day. I might be biased as I have been in this camp for a few years now. Heineman can’t touch a big league breaking ball so I’m less enthused by him beating up on spring training fbs. I sure hope alf rod has finally turned into the prospect he was projected to be many moons ago…or at least some semblance of a mlb hitter. Is votto done? Good question hope he fools us all. Antone should probably start…stuff is seriously filthy to the maxx.

  9. Klugo

    These guys are going to be happy to have a 162 game schedule again.

  10. Optimist

    What do analytics say about Votto in the 5th or 6th spot? Kinda like the idea of him leading off the 2nd inning if his OBP holds up.

    • TOM

      Votto is nothing more than average at this point, and not going to get any better. I hope the Reds realize this & and bat him 6th or 7th in lineup. Maybe even platoon him. Antone is the 3rd starter IMHO. The 4th & 5th. Up for grabs.

  11. Roger Garrett

    Only reason I said Miley would start is because that’s what he was signed to do.If I remember he wasn’t healthy and when he did pitch he wasn’t very good.The money always plays and I would imagine he will get a pass on last year’s performance just like so many others.Personally I never even liked the signing but I did understand he is a lefty and does break up the power pitching righties with his soft stuff.I still see him starting but on a very short leash.Lorenzen and Antone are much much better IMO.

  12. JB

    It’s the first week of spring training games , hitters and pitchers are working on different things. Players in two to three weeks will look alot different. I do like the back up talent this year and there will be some good players that are at AAA to cover injuries if they happen. Three weeks is a long time to weed itself out. At least we have better talent than Colon , Davidson or Jankowski.

  13. MK

    Never been a Lorenzen fan. Seems he is more focused on having a California beach body than improving baseball skills. His comments show he feels he is entitled to the starting spot. He is correct the team knows what he has done before which is the reason they put him in the pen.

    • west larry

      Lorenzen is one of my favorite players. He’s started, relieved, pinch hit. pinch run and is the best defensive center fielder on the team. I wish we had five players on this team with his skills.

      • Kevin Patrick

        I’m a Lorenzen guy too… but I’d still take Senzel in center over him defensively.

    • DaveCT

      At this point, I am no longer a Lorenzen true believer. The stuff is, and had always been, there. The head has, and will not ever l be, there, (more than it is right now). So pay him a great rate, let him pitch 4 out of every 7 days, IMO, as a reliever, in his best role. Tell him this, he is their closer — plus. . Period. Revolutionize it. Pay him to do it. Could be very unique and lucrative to this guy.

  14. Stock

    Lorenzen seems to be saying he deserves the 5th spot because he was the best 5th option last September. That is not how it works though.

    After the 2019 season Antone worked his tail off. In 2020 his fastball velocity improved 3-4 MPH and when matched with his plus curve and plus slider he was a good pitcher.

    This winter Antone decided there were specific things he could do to improve his fastball. In his first outing instead of averaging 95 mph on his fastball like he did in the 2020 ST (which held up throughout the season) he was 97-99. Because of his work ethic and willingness to accept the science of pitching Antone has 3 plus pitches and is easily the best option for the 4th spot in the rotation.

    Lorenzen needs to grow up. Starting 2 games in September does not entitle you to a rotation spot.

    After his great first outing Antone said he wants to do what is in the best interest of the team, be that starting or releiving.

    Antone bought into the science of pitching, worked hard to enable the science to improve his pitches and shows he is a team player because of his words. Lorenzen would be well served to see this and follow Antone’s path. There once was a time when Lorenzen was a better pitcher than Antone. That time has passed.

    2021 Rotation out of ST: Castillo, Gray, Mahle, Antone, Miley.
    Ranking the Rotation come September: Antone, Gray, Castillo, Miley and Mahle

    And my bold prediction here is Miley over Mahle, not Antone over Gray and Castillo.

  15. BK

    Lorenzen is my favorite Red. He’ll do absolutely anything to help the team: start, relieve, play outfield, pinch hit, pinch run. He’s a truly elite athlete and unique baseball talent for this era. 10% better than average as a pitcher over the last 5 years.
    Produced a full run of bWAR from hitting/fielding/running although seldom used in those roles. He clearly stated he trust the Reds leadership (manager and pitching coach) to make the best decision on how to use him. Not sure how his body of work or this brief interview justifies an “entitled” label. SMH.

    • Grand Salami


      Fav Red b/c of his ethic, attitude, and positive energy. He could have been, at the very least, a poor man’s Ohtani if the needs/vacancies on this team were greater.

      Rooting for him to get a rotation spot on the condition he is one of the 5 best options!