Loveless Getting Used To Things

Taken in the 27th round of the 2011 draft, outfield prospect Derrick Loveless, 18, is currently in the midst of his first offseason as a professional baseball player. He previously got his first pro action in the months of August and September when he spent time in Dunedin for both Gulf Coast League and Instructional League play.

Tallying one hit in 17 at-bats and striking out seven times during five GCL games, Loveless was quick to admit that he had a slow start out of the gates.

"I thought it was tough at first because I was never really used to that type of atmosphere and the tempo of the game," Loveless said. "Then once I went down for Instructs, things started to progress.

"I could see improvement with what they were teaching me. I started using it in games and it actually started to help. So for the season, I guess it was just kind of a struggle at first, but I got used to it during instructs."

Loveless, who signed with the Jays after playing ball at Solon Senior High School in his hometown of Solon, Ia., said his timing posed a challenge for him.

"The biggest thing for me was probably the timing with the pitchers. I always seemed to be about a beat behind them, maybe because I hadn't seen that fast of a speed in a long time."

And with that, his biggest area of improvement is his swing in general. Loveless explained that the coaches with him in Dunedin essentially changed his entire swing, so he was focused on becoming used to the new mechanics.

"They widened my stance up because they said my stance was a little bit narrow. They say I had no rhythm with my hands, so they started working on me with that," he said. "And now I have a leg kick, so it helps me gain a little extra distance on my stride so [I can] actually stay through the zone a lot easier."

But on the opposite side of things, he named his biggest strength to be defense. Drafted as an outfielder, Loveless has so far played in the Jays' organization as an outfielder.

"My biggest strength is probably my defense. At first, it was a little bit difficult getting used to the steps they were trying to teach me, but I caught on pretty quickly with that and I gained a lot of confidence when I was out playing defense."

With months still left to go until Spring Training, Loveless hasn't waited to practice areas of his game. While he hasn't done anything throwing-wise, he said he began working on his hitting once he got back home.

"I figured since I have a lot to adjust to with my swing that I might as well start early and get used to that before I get back down there," he said.

At this point in his young career, much of his early successes will rely on how much he can process everything he's been taught, and utilize that on the field.

"A goal for me would probably be finally figuring out everything that they've taught me and starting to use it in games a lot better, and then hitting the ball, squaring it up—yeah, squaring up the ball is probably gonna be my biggest goal."

Looking ahead to next season's Spring Training and beyond, Loveless maintains that he doesn't have expectations as to where he will be placed in the organization. He trusts that wherever the Jays decide to put him will be the place where he can excel the most.

"I guess it just depends on how I do and wherever they put me. It's gonna be fine with me because that's where they feel that I should be and hopefully I'll keep improving at that level and maybe if I get good enough, then they'll move me up."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nTallying one hit in 17 at-bats and striking out seven times during five GCL games, Loveless was quick to admit that he had a slow start out of the gates.
\r\n
\r\n\"I thought it was tough at first because I was never really used to that type of atmosphere and the tempo of the game,\" Loveless said. \"Then once I went down for Instructs, things started to progress.
\r\n
\r\n\"I could see improvement with what they were teaching me. I started using it in games and it actually started to help. So for the season, I guess it was just kind of a struggle at first, but I got used to it during instructs.\"
\r\n
\r\nLoveless, who signed with the Jays after playing ball at Solon Senior High School in his hometown of Solon, Ia., said his timing posed a challenge for him.
\r\n
\r\n\"The biggest thing for me was probably the timing with the pitchers. I always seemed to be about a beat behind them, maybe because I hadn't seen that fast of a speed in a long time.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd with that, his biggest area of improvement is his swing in general. Loveless explained that the coaches with him in Dunedin essentially changed his entire swing, so he was focused on becoming used to the new mechanics.
\r\n
\r\n\"They widened my stance up because they said my stance was a little bit narrow. They say I had no rhythm with my hands, so they started working on me with that,\" he said. \"And now I have a leg kick, so it helps me gain a little extra distance on my stride so [I can] actually stay through the zone a lot easier.\"
\r\n
\r\nBut on the opposite side of things, he named his biggest strength to be defense. Drafted as an outfielder, Loveless has so far played in the Jays' organization as an outfielder.
\r\n
\r\n\"My biggest strength is probably my defense. At first, it was a little bit difficult getting used to the steps they were trying to teach me, but I caught on pretty quickly with that and I gained a lot of confidence when I was out playing defense.\"
\r\n
\r\nWith months still left to go until Spring Training, Loveless hasn't waited to practice areas of his game. While he hasn't done anything throwing-wise, he said he began working on his hitting once he got back home.
\r\n
\r\n\"I figured since I have a lot to adjust to with my swing that I might as well start early and get used to that before I get back down there,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nAt this point in his young career, much of his early successes will rely on how much he can process everything he's been taught, and utilize that on the field.
\r\n
\r\n\"A goal for me would probably be finally figuring out everything that they've taught me and starting to use it in games a lot better, and then hitting the ball, squaring it up—yeah, squaring up the ball is probably gonna be my biggest goal.\"
\r\n
\r\nLooking ahead to next season's Spring Training and beyond, Loveless maintains that he doesn't have expectations as to where he will be placed in the organization. He trusts that wherever the Jays decide to put him will be the place where he can excel the most.
\r\n
\r\n\"I guess it just depends on how I do and wherever they put me. It's gonna be fine with me because that's where they feel that I should be and hopefully I'll keep improving at that level and maybe if I get good enough, then they'll move me up.\"
\r\n
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