Checking in at number 33 on our Royals prospect list, Zach Lovvorn is a guy that I am excited to watch pitch for the Omaha Storm Chasers in 2018. A RHP that has a relatively high floor due to his ability to start and work effectively out of the bullpen. If Lovvorn survives the Rule 5 Draft (eligible for the first time this winter), he’ll almost definitely start the season off in the rotation for AAA Omaha.
With that in mind there is a decent chance that we see Lovvorn in Kansas City at some point during the 2018 season. In the event that Lovvorn makes his MLB debut next summer, we want Royals fans to be as familiar as possible with the young righty. Lovvorn took some time to answer some questions for us that we are now going to pass along to you. Enjoy!
For you younger pitchers out there, I started off by asking Zach some questions about his offseason workout routines:
Q: What’s your long toss/throwing program look like? Do you do much throwing in the offseason?
Lovvorn: “Absolutely. I give lessons in my hometown so I usually work with kids playing nice and easy catch. I start my throwing program up when the Royals send it out to us. I usually do more than is asked of me cause I know what my body needs. I start around 90-120 feet and gradually work my way out to about 100 yards before I start throwing yards. I’m a strong believer in long toss. Airing it out with your arm and maximizing your arm’s range of motion. Then I work from flat-grounds to nice easy bullpens. Working on fastball command first off then working on breaking stuff later.”
Q: Do you use/believe in weighted balls?
In high school I started throwing heavy balls. I think it was in 8th grade. From my freshman to senior year I increased my velocity like 5 mph every year. I’m not against weighted balls but I haven’t used them since I’ve been in pro ball. I would probably be open to doing it again. If you do them the right way they don’t hurt you.
For those of you at home who dream of pitching professionally like Zach, those are a couple of great responses from a young man who knows what he’s talking about.
The next couple of questions that I asked Zach were fun to hear his responses on. They dealt with not only himself, but the people he plays with and against as well.
Q: Who would you say is the most underrated teammate that you’ve played with?
Lovvorn: “Nick Dini. He’s been getting his name out there a little bit but when he came up to AA he was just supposed to be filling in and he tore it up. It was unbelievable to watch him take advantage of his opportunity. He’s one of the best catchers we have in the system behind the plate.”
Definitely some high praise for Nick Dini there. Dini had a nice season at AA last summer, and a decent showing in the Arizona Fall League as well. I’ll be interested to watch how he progresses in 2018.
Q: What do you want to improve on most this offseason?
Lovvorn: “I need to have better command of my fastball. I really want to have the best command possible with my fastball. I think my command is already pretty good but if I can get even better than it should help me going forward.”
Q: What was the biggest difference you saw in the hitters at AA vs. the hitters at High-A?
Lovvorn: “Some of the guys at AA had already had some big league action. Each hitter I faced had an actual approach and weren’t just up there swinging. They were waiting for their pitch and hit it when they got it. There’s a lot smaller margin of error. One at-bat you could strike a guy out with a curveball then he hammers it the next at-bat.”
Q: What’s something you want Royals fans to know about you?
Lovvorn: “I have hit every single stop in the organization. I know they’re really big on the homegrown thing and I have been that guy to hit every stop along the way. It doesn’t get more homegrown than that.”
We know how much Kansas City loves their homegrown talent, and no one fits that description better than Zach Lovvorn. Zach’s a guy that I am eager to watch develop next season and I’ll be rooting for him to make his MLB debut before the end of the year.
Hailing from Oxford, Alabama, there was one more question left that I felt like I had to ask Zach. It was arguably the most important question I asked him during the interview, and he answered it perfectly.
Q: Roll Tide or War Eagle?
Lovvorn: “Oh man, that’s easy . . . Roll Tide baby.”