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Blue Jays Prospect or Placeholder: Derrick Loveless

Blue Jays Derrick Loveless has quietly put together a solid 2016 season. Jays From the Couch asks the question, Is Derrick Loveless a Prospect or Placeholder?

 

Derrick Loveless, 23-yr-old outfielder for the Blue Jays Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats has quietly made a career for himself. Since being drafted in 2011, he has steadily risen through the Blue Jays system. Lacking the flash and tools which would set him apart from other minor league players, Loveless has never been mentioned in any off-season prospect lists. You won’t find much written about him outside of Toronto Blue Jays minor league recaps. Despite going relatively unnoticed by many Blue Jays fans, Derrick Loveless has put up good numbers over the past 6 seasons.

Top Prospects and 27th round draft picks are typically found in the same sentence; however, it’s been known to happen. Could Derrick Loveless a possible exception?

The 2015 season was a challenging one for Derrick Loveless. On that saw him bat just .216, despite hitting .264 with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2014. So was no surprise to see Derrick Loveless once again suiting up for the Dunedin Blue Jays to start 2016.

Unfortunately, Derrick struggled to get off to a good start with the D-Jays hitting just .241 with 4 doubles, a home run and 10RBI in 18 May games. Despite these uninspiring stats, Loveless was rewarded with his first taste of the Eastern League as he was promoted to New Hampshire. Unfortunately, the promotion was short lived and was returned to Dunedin; however, the 6’1″, 200lb outfielder held his own during the 4 game audition. In his only start, Derrick Loveless his a 2-run home run, going 1-for-2 with a walk and strike out.

 

Whether it was just timing or it was getting his first taste of Double-A baseball. Derrick Loveless caught fire upon his return to the Florida State League. Over his next 30 games Loveless produced an OPS of 0.822. He collected 46 total bases, 5 doubles, 3 triples and 2HR to drive in 10 RBI. His .397 BABIP during this span was within the top 10 in the Blue Jays system.

Derrick Loveless 2016 stats

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2016 23 Dunedin 49 204 23 46 11 3 3 21 8 3 27 55 .266 .361 .416 .778 72
2016 23 New Hampshire 34 112 10 22 7 1 6 13 1 0 16 30 .232 .342 .516 .858 49
Minors (6 seasons) 421 1638 182 324 63 25 28 156 39 15 214 407 .233 .336 .375 .711 521
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/30/2016.

On June 20th, Derrick Loveless was promoted to New Hamsphire, where he’s been every since.

With the Fisher Cats, the native of Solon, Iowa, has hit for more power. His ISO has increased from .150 in 49 game with Dunedin to .297 with New Hampshire. Typically, Loveless’ ISO has hovered between .126 and .139 over his 5 previous seasons. This increase has allowed him to tie his career high in doubles with 18 (over two levels), his next home run will match the 15 he hit in 2015, and his 33 RBI are not far off the pace that had allowed him to collect 55 and 43 the past two season. It is worth noting that we still have more than 5 weeks of baseball left.

New Hampshire’s newest right fielder has maintained a solid walk rate of 14.8 BB% since joining the Fisher Cats. This is up for the 13.2 BB% posted with the D-Jays and better than the 12.9 BB% mark he posted in 118 games with the D-Jays in 2015. However, he hasn’t seen any improvement in the strike out department, striking out over 25% of the time. Getting his K% below 20% would greatly increase his stock.

As July turns into August, Loveless continues to get consistent playing time and continues to provide Manager Bob Meacham with above league average production from the bottom half of the batting order with .385 wOBA and 138 wRC+. He need to sustain this level of play if he hopes of one day making it to Triple-A Buffalo; however, this would require him remaining with in the system. Derrick Loveless is not on the 40-man roster and was left unprotected during this year Rule 5 Draft. This is unlikely to change during the offseason.

Would you grant Derrick Loveless, a 23-yr-old outfield who is Top 10 in the system in doubles, triples, HRs, and RBI, a spot on your 40-man roster?

 

 

 Featured Image Mandatory Credit: kdemerly UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.

Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.

  • Arjonn

    The easy, somewhat cynical answer is that most prospects don’t progress beyond being placeholders. That said, aside from the past six weeks, what else is there to suggest he’s enough of a prospect to put on the 40-man? How’s his foot speed? His arm? How is he defensively? What’s his swing like? Are any of his tools still projectable?

    I’ve never seen or looked into him, but from the info provided and taking into consideration that he’s not playing above his age, he doesn’t strike me as a particularly good candidate for the 40-man.

    • RyanMueller

      he’s one of those prospects that have average tools across the board. He has a nice speed/power mix but not enough to get you excited.

      • Arjonn

        Thanks. That’s kind of the impression I was getting – enough tools to keep him in the organisation but not enough for him to project much beyond that.