Join Jays From the Couch in highlighting the early accomplishments of Dunedin Blue Jays Juan Kelly and Derrick Loveless
The casual fan often gets hung up the record of a minor club when measuring the success of the prospects on the team. For this reason, I can’t blame fans for not paying attention to the members of the 5 and 5 Dunedin Blue Jays.
The D-Jays stumbled early, losing 3 in a row but have offset the losing streak with a pair of 2 game win streaks. Ten games into the season the D-Jays hold a team batting average of .259 and lead the Florida State League with 20 doubles despite only hitting 2 home runs.
As the season unfolds, I believe that it will be the doubles which define the 2017 Dunedin Blue Jays.
While the roster isn’t loaded with home run hitters, it is loaded with gap power. From Juan Kelly to Max Pentecost all the way down to injury prone prospects Lane Thomas and Danny Jansen, the D-Jays offense has the potential to hit doubles in bunches.
Juan Kelly has started off his Dunedin career in the same fashion as he ended his career with the Lansing Lugnuts……hitting doubles. The 5-foot-10 corner infielder has opened the season collecting 2-hits in five of the team’s ten games. With 13 hits under his belt, Kelly already has 6 doubles which lead the FSL.
This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Juan Kelly hit 35 doubles with the Lansing Lugnuts in 2016, good for 3rd in the Midwest League.
Kelly isn’t the only member of the Dunedin Blue Jays to get off to an impressive start. Derrick Loveless, a veteran of 6 minor league seasons, was a surprise addition to the Dunedin Blue Jays. It appears that Loveless hasn’t let what could be perceived as a snub get him down. Instead, it looks as though Loveless will force the front office to move him to New Hampshire by producing on the field.
Loveless is showing off the skills that make him a complete player and someone to watch. He’s shown good defense in the outfield, he’s shown patience at the plate with 10 walks and 9 strikeouts, and he’s produced 4 doubles while driving in 6 RBI.
The 24-yr-old outfielder split time between New Hampshire and Dunedin in 2016. Despite a disappointing .207 batting with the Fisher Cats, Loveless put up similar numbers at both levels. He played 56 games at Double-A and 49 games at Advanced-A. He hit 8 doubles, 3 triples, and 7 HR, finishing with a 25/56 BB/K with the Fisher Cats. In Dunedin Loveless hit 11 doubles, 3 triples, and 3 HR, finishing with a 27/55 BB/K.
While Juan Kelly has been batting third and fourth for the D-Jays, Derrick Loveless hasn’t settled into a defined role with Dunedin. Loveless has batted everywhere from 2nd to 6th but continued success should see Loveless solidify himself with a role in the middle of the D-Jays lineup.
Jays From the Couch will continue to get an eye on the D-Jays as the doubles continue to mount.
Dunedin Blue Jays Notes
- Danny Jansen has gotten off to a strong start with a .414 batting average in 7 games. While solid stats would be nice. A healthy season will be what defines success for Jansen’s season.
- Cavan Biggio hasn’t looked overmatched. Although he hasn’t walked yet and has 9 strikeouts in 7 games after walking (29BB) more than he struck out (28K) in 53 games with the Vancouver Canadians.
- On the mound, the D-Jays have gone through the rotation twice with Markham’s Jordan Romano putting up the best numbers. Romano is still looking for his first win but owns a 2.08 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 8.2 IP with 5 walks and 12 strikeouts.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem JFtC
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