Yesterday, rhe Atlanta Braves added another power reliever, acquiring lefty Rickard Lovelady from the Royals for cash. The team announced the move today.
The Royals Lovelady out of Kennesaw State University in the tenth round of the 2016 Rule 4 Amateur draft, signing him for a $100K bonus.
He appeared in 24 games in Rookie Ball, started the 2017 season in High-A, and pitched to a 1.08 ERA in 33 1/3 innings of relief, striking out 41 of 123 batters faced (33.3%), walking four (3.2%) and recording seven saves in 21 appearances before the Royals promoted him to AA at the end of June.
Lovelady appeared in 21 games for the AA NW Arkansas Naturals and found the competition tougher, but only a little. In his 33 1/3 innings of work for the Naturals, he pitched to a 2.16 ERA, striking out 36 of 117 batters faced (26.3%), walking 13, and recording three saves.
Moving on up
He entered the 2018 season with AAA Omaha ranked 28th among Royals’ prospects by Baseball America (subscription required), whose description suggested his rapid progress wasn’t a fluke.
Lovelady possesses electric stuff, with a dominating plus fastball from 93-97 mph (thrown) with deception . . . a hard tailing action with sink. He locates it well both arm-side and glove-side . . .Because of the dominance of his fastball, Lovelady seldom needed to use his offspeed stuff, but (possesses) an average or better slider at 88 mph. . . Lovelady is locked in and focused on the mound. He profiles as a setup man and not strictly as a left-on-left reliever (who may join) Royals bullpen in 2018. . .
He didn’t get to Kansas City in 2018, but he did continue to impress, throwing 73 innings over 46 games, striking out 71, walking 21, and recording nine saves while posting a 2.47 ERA,
The 2019 season saw him start in AAA, but after two appearances, he made his Major League Lovelady pitched better than his numbers indicate for Kansas City but ran out of gas in August and went back to Omaha.