While Michael Lorenzen hasn’t taken the mound recently as he’s working his way back from a small injury, he’s pretty excited about how things have gone this spring except for the injury. In his most recent bullpen session an adjustment from Derek Johnson led to a breakthrough with his curveball.
“I was pretty stoked with how I was throwing the ball,” said Lorenzen. “I made an adjustment with my curveball. I almost thought about just stop throwing my curveball. During my pen I threw two curveballs with a little adjustment DJ (pitching coach Derek Johnson) told me about and it was like ‘oh wow, that’s a completely different pitch’ and so I took it out in the game and it was awesome every time I threw it, and it felt comfortable.”
For Michael Lorenzen, he’s struggled to find the consistency with the curveball early in the year in his career. With the adjustment he is already feeling like it’s ready, and that could be a good sign of things to come.
“I’m stoked to have that pitch, I’m telling you,” Lorenzen said. “I haven’t broken spring training with a good breaking ball. Every single year I’m always searching during the season for my slider and curveball, and usually around the second half I find it. This is going to be the first year I break camp with both breaking balls. Usually, if you look at my numbers of the years, when I find my slider and curveball my numbers start to coincide with how I know I can throw the ball. I’m stoked to start the season with all of my pitches. I’m trying to find the positives and that’s a major one for sure.”
Looking at the Fangraphs pitch values, Michael Lorenzen’s curveball has been an above-average offering throughout the majority of his career. Over the last three seasons it’s the 12th best curveball in Major League Baseball among 219 pitchers that have thrown at least 150 total innings in that span of time. It’s been a very good pitch for him, and now he’s feeling like not only is his curveball better than the one that was already one of the best in the game, but that he’s ready to throw it well to begin the season – something he hasn’t felt he was ready for in the past.
Part of what could be behind finding the curveball, and the slider for Lorenzen has been the difference in his preparation coming into spring training. In the past he came in looking for early velocity, but this spring he came in with a different plan as he was looking to win a job in the rotation.
“I’ve always rushed velo and the skill pays the price for it to where my stuff is good, but it’s kind of sloppy and it’s not clean,” Lorenzen said. “My last outing it felt like it was all coming together, and that doesn’t even cross my mind with anything in my shoulder, so that was a bummer for that to happen. But just the way I’m spotting my fastball, the way my change up is moving, I’m landing my curveball, I’m getting swing-and-miss with the slider, I’m able to elevate the fastball, I’m getting the cutter down to righties – there’s a lot of skill with all those pitches, if I don’t have the skill it can get really messy. So from here on out I’m going to go into every spring and take this approach. I can always add that extra velo more and more as the season gets near, but the skill is something that if you overlook it, it takes a while to find it.”
The precise timeline for when Michael Lorenzen will be ready to go is still up in the air a bit. He isn’t expected to pitch on Opening Day, which buys him a little bit of time to get ready for either his turn in the rotation, or perhaps a scheduled day out of the bullpen a few days after the season begins.
“I just played catch out to about 110 feet or so today,” said Lorenzen. “Felt great, didn’t push it or anything. Just trying to make sure there’s no setbacks or anything like that. I think if we continue this path and are patient with it, I don’t want to give an exact timeline, but I don’t see me missing any time. I think one more outing for me will be good. Whether I’m able to get that in on Monday before we leave, or leading up to Opening Day, or just during that week, I might be able to get it in that week, and just get back on it. I think I caught it early enough – I know I caught it early enough to make sure it wasn’t any big deal. Just a hiccup here and thankful it happened during spring training. Glad I’m going through it during spring training because during the season I’ll be ready to rock.”