In our final pre-holiday feature on Fisher Cats players and their MLB debut, we focus on one of the most successful, yet quiet players in Toronto: reliever Aaron Loup.
Loup played with the Fisher Cats for a few months in 2012, earning Eastern League All-Star honors on the weight of a 2.76 ERA in the first half of the season. While he never lit up radar guns, the side-winding southpaw struck our nearly a batter per inning for the Fisher Cats, which caught the attention of the Blue Jays.
Called up because of an injury sustained by former Fisher Cat Luis Perez, Loup made his debut after the MLB All-Star Break by tossing two perfect innings against the Cleveland Indians on July 14 in Toronto. By the end of the season, he appeared in 33 games and compiled a 2.64 earned run average.
Aaron Loup Highlights
Fast-forward to spring training the following season, the Louisianan had a shot to make the club as one of two left-handed relievers. Not only did he make the club, he was one of the best throwers in an underrated Blue Jays bullpen. He won his first four big league games, earned a pair of saves, sported a 2.47 ERA, and, perhaps most importantly, held lefties to a paltry .200 average.
The proud father of a new baby girl, Loup recalled his MLB debut and his first year-plus in the majors when the Blue Jays visited Boston in September.
'Quit Unpacking Your Bag'
I had just gotten back from the All-Star Game in Double-A, and I walked in the locker room, and put my bag in the locker. I was starting to unpack when Sal (Fasano) or Siggy (pitching coach Tom Signore) - it was one of them - walked into the locker room and said, 'Loup, quit unpacking your bag, we've got some news for you.' I kind of new the situation with what happened with Luis (Perez), and I knew that I had a chance but I wasn't exactly positive that's what (the news was) it was. When they called me in the office they said I got called up to the big leagues, and that was about it. After that, I put whatever I took out of my bag back into my bag, make a few phone calls, and headed off to Toronto.
Facing the Tribe
I made my debut in Toronto against Cleveland. Two innings, six up, six down. It couldn't have gone any better.
No Guarantees in 2013
Coming into spring training, they had a few guys out of options so I knew I was going to have to earn my spot back on the team even with the success I had last season. I knew going in that as long as I pitched well, I'd give myself a chance.
I ended up pitching well, and it was about the third-to-last game of spring training when (manager John Gibbons) walked up to me while I was sitting in my locker. I think we were in Port Charlotte playing against Tampa, and he walks up to me and said, 'Loup, you know you're on the team right? I never called you in to officially tell you, but I just figured you assumed it.' That's how I found out I was on the team.
Yankees? Red Sox? No big deal.
There are a lot of nice parks up here, and a lot of nice parks I haven't been to, but I can't really pick out one I like pitching at more. I know that I tend to pitch well for some reason in Boston, and the Yankees, too, I pitch pretty well there. So, those are two big places for me. And in the division too, so that helps.
My First Treat
My wife and I, once we found out we were having a baby and knew we were going to have a chance to be in the big leagues, we went ahead and decided to build ourselves a house. It gives us a little more of a solid place to live and raise our family (just outside of New Orleans).
Baby Sophie Harper
It was an unbelievable moment for me. I actually got to be there to witness her being born, which was a pretty cool part. The whole situation has been unbelievable, minus not being able to be home for the last month. Other than that, I'm looking forward to getting home and getting to spend the offseason with her.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.