"Derrick was a very raw player when he first came here," hitting coach Paul Elliot said. "He had just come out of high school so he hadn't played much baseball.
"To then be put in this environment was a bit overwhelming, but to his credit he's taken what we have spoken about and put it into practice."
Loveless took a small break after going straight to Instructs from high school. During his time off from a regimented program, he taught children how to play baseball at a facility called Diamond Dreams where is from. He felt that working and teaching there mentally prepared him to work hard later in the offseason and get ready for Spring Training.
"At first I was nervous in Spring Training because I didn't really know what to expect right away," Loveless said. "I think Spring Training was successfull though because I learned new things everyday and I got to meet a lot of guys.
"My performances were not always the best, but I never really have a bad day. I like to think of them as learning experiences."
During this time the left-handed batter worked mostly on his hitting: timing and rhythm mostly. He has had some difficulty with both of these things, so he is just trying to figure out what he can handle and gain overall confidence at the plate. He continued working on this aspect of his game on into Extended Spring Training and hopes to get more comfortable with it as time goes on.
"There are always things that I can improve on but I think that the biggest thing for right now is rhythm and timing when hitting," Loveless said. "I am pretty comfortable with base running and fielding but hitting is always questionable for me."
The 6-foot-1, 200 pound outfielder is putting in the hours and working hard to make his first year a good one and the coaches are definitely seeing improvement as a payoff.
"He's becoming a better and more confident player," Elliot said. "He is tracking balls better and his arm strength is improving.
"Offensively he has made good strides but it's still a long working progress. He is a hard worker and he puts in the extra time when needed. He will probably start the season here and play on a regular basis, continue to play and continue to improve."
Loveless is preparing for the short-season Leagues and feels pretty confident heading into it. He struggled in the beginning of Extended, always worrying about failing, but now has a better outlook on the game.
He knows that there will be days that aren't as good as others and is willing to accept it, move forward and give it his all every time he plays.
"I am excited and nervous for the short-season leagues," Loveless said. "I'm nervous because this is my first year, and even though I know what to expect I know it is going to be tough.
"I'm really excited to get into the season because this is what I have been hoping to do my entire life so it's my first shot."
DUNEDIN, FL - Outfielder Derrick Loveless was chosen by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 27th round of the 2011 Draft. The nineteen-year old came out of Solon High School in Iowa. Although this is Loveless's first year playing in the minor leagues, he seems fairly confident with his performance so far and is showing improvement everyday.
Loveless Ready For His First Shot
Derrick Loveless has been working on his game all year and now he gets to be tested in-season.
Dunedin Beat Writer
Loveless is excited for the start of the GCL
Jun 15, 2012