2016 Blue Jays Season Review: Aaron Loup

By: Jay Blue and @JaysGirlEmily

Blue Jays From Away

Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.

There was a time when lefty Aaron Loup was the Blue Jays’ left-handed reliever extraordinaire with an unquestioned place in John Gibbons‘s bullpen. That time has clearly passed because, while Loup made 168 appearances in 2012-2014 with a 2.77 ERA, he has since struggled, posting an ERA over 4.50 in the majors since then.

Loup still struck out over one batter per inning in 2015, but he gave up six home runs in 42 1/3 innings (far more than his average). In 2016, Loup had an injury that kept him out of spring training and he got his season underway with three outings in the Florida State League starting in mid-May.

He made another three, very successful rehab appearances in Buffalo before joining the Blue Jays on May 28. He started out well, striking out the only two batters he facedthat day, but allowed a home run and hit a batter, working just 1/3 of an inning in his next outing. In four innings with the Jays, he allowed four runs and had given up two home runs before he was sent back to Buffalo in mid-June.

There, he was excellent, not allowing a run over five innings before another call up where he was much better for the Jays, throwing two innings without allowing a hit and striking out three over three appearances but there was a big, 13-day gap between his second and third outings.

Loup was sent back to Buffalo at the end of July where, again, he was excellent. Called back up to Toronto towards the end of August, he allowed four more runs in 3 2/3 innings before heading down the QEW for three more appearances. Called up in September, Loup was used in very short stints (throwing a complete inning only once) and he allowed only four hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings over nine appearances with four strikeouts.

Loup’s problem in 2015? He struggled against left-handed batters, allowing a .250/.321/.500 slash line against them with seven strikeouts in 28 plate appearances (a pretty good 25.0% strikeout rate). Due to his injury and his subsequent difficulties, the Blue Jays spent all season looking for a pitcher to throw against lefties but were really unable to find one.

Loup did not pitch in the 2016 postseason.

Contract Status

Loup has four years and 40 days of major league service, making him arbitration eligible. MLB Trade Rumors projects that he’ll get $1.2 million in salary in arbitration. He still has minor league options.

Emily Says

Loup appeared in 21 games for Toronto in 2016. He began the season on the disabled list due to left elbow soreness. After a rehab assignment, he made his first appearance on May 28. He threw 2/3rds of an inning, striking out both batters he faced. In his next outing, he gave up two runs, including a home run, in a third of an inning.

The left-hander pitched five games in June, throwing three innings and allowing two runs. He was optioned to Buffalo on the 15th, then returned to Toronto on the 2nd of July. He didn’t allow a baserunner in two innings over three games, but was sent back to Buffalo on July 22. He returned again a month later, and appeared in two games in August but allowed one run in the first and three runs in the second.

Following another demotion to Triple-A, Loup came back on September 6th and had nine scoreless outings, comprising 4.2 innings. He allowed just four hits over that span, walked two and struck out four.

In all, he threw 14.1 innings, allowed 15 hits, allowed eight runs, two home runs, four walks and had fifteen strikeouts. His ERA was 5.02, his WHIP 1.33. He had a K/BB ratio of 3.41 and didn’t earn a decision in any of his outings. He also successfully stranded 15 of 17 inherited runners. He made the postseason roster but didn’t appear in any games.

Regular Season Grades

Jay: C-
Emily: C