Rotation hopeful Lorenzen spending day, night at gym
Reds hurler working out three times per day to gain mph, edge in competition
CINCINNATI -- If you've been on social media during the offseason and follow Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen, you'll often see a shot of him in a gym -- lifting or doing cardio work. Lorenzen, who owns a gym and yoga studio near his home in Laguna Beach, Calif., has barely taken any time off since the season ended.
Coming off his rookie year, Lorenzen is preparing himself -- physically and mentally -- for what should be a wide open battle for one of three spots in the Reds' rotation in 2016. To him, that requires being in the gym not only daily -- but three times per day.
"That's my normal routine. I guess the only difference is I'm trying to pack on some more weight," Lorenzen said. "Towards the end of last season, I started lifting heavy again like I normally do and eating a lot. And that's when my velocity jumped back up to the high 90s. In Spring Training, that's when I'm the firmest, the biggest and the heaviest. Pitching is new to me still. I'm trying to learn from my workouts and my regimen and stuff like that. I've learned the heavier and stronger I am, the harder I throw."
In the morning, Lorenzen will do cardio work, running or hill sprints. Around midday, he'll put in 90 minutes of lower body lifting -- often at his former college, Cal-State Fullerton, where he earned the 38th overall selection by Cincinnati in the first round of the 2013 Draft. In the evening, he does upper body lifting.
"The durability is definitely there with cardiovascular and everything, and you constantly have to recover," Lorenzen said. "Our bodies adapt and they are a pretty amazing machine. When you're able to train it in a way most people don't, I think it adapts."
The Reds have supported Lorenzen's workout program.
"At times you look at Michael Lorenzen and his workouts, that's more like a guy that's going to play center field or linebacker or something like that," manager Bryan Price said. "It's always hard to say that there's one way to train. His training is probably more strenuous than most pitchers. But he's proven to be extremely durable. It's hard to walk a guy away from a workout plan where he's completely invested in getting a good result. It's just probably different than a lot of ways that a lot of pitchers would work out in the offseason."
Looking at his velocity data, Lorenzen appeared to be on to something. According to Statcast™, before his Aug. 12 demotion to Triple-A Louisville following some struggles, he was averaging 93.9 mph on his four-seam fastball. After being recalled three weeks later, he jumped up to 94.28 mph.
Turning 24 on Jan. 4, Lorenzen was 4-9 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.659 WHIP in 27 games, including 21 starts. A center fielder and closer in college, Cincinnati converted him to a starting pitcher when he turned pro, which means 2016 will only be his third full season in a rotation. He had 49 Minor League games on his resume before being promoted to the Majors.
Lorenzen's big league career began with some nice outings, and he owned a respectable 3.56 ERA over his first 11 games, including nine starts. From June 27 to the end of the season, however, Lorenzen was 1-7 with a 7.18 ERA in his final 16 games, with 12 starts -- not including the stretch at Louisville.
"I honestly learned that I wasn't mentally ready," Lorenzen said. "I was when I first came up. When something went kind of haywire, the noise and what people would say got to me because I didn't believe in myself. That's one thing I'm looking to take into next season, a total belief in myself.
"If I believe in myself, it doesn't matter who is in the batter's box. When I have doubt in my mind, and [Andrew] McCutchen is in the box, it definitely matters. I have the physical tools and the physical ability. My body is in really good shape. I take good care of it. Now it's the mindset and the mental training that will take me to that next level and make me elite. I believe it, you have to."