Joeri Loykens

From BR Bullpen

Joeri Loykens

  • Bats Right, Throws Right

Biographical Information[edit]

Joeri Loykens was a top Belgian pitcher in the 1990s. His father had been a softball coach.

Loykens debuted in 1988 as a teenager with the Antwerp Royal Greys, going 1-1 with a 4.66 ERA. In '89, he was 1-0 with a 11.93 ERA as Antwerp won the title; he was hit hard (26 H, 15 BB in 14 1/3 IP). He did not pitch in 1990 but was 2 for 4 at the plate after hitting under .200 his first two years. In 1991, he became a regular on the hill (6-3, 3.99) and also hit .250/.400/.375. He tied Mike Rooney for 6th in the First Division in wins. He was a much better hitter (.364/.432/.675, 6 HR in 77 AB) than pitcher (2-6, 8.34) for the '92 Greys. He tied for second in losses but tied for 5th in dingers.

In 1993, Loykens put it together as a two-way threat. He was 10-1 with a 2.68 ERA and whiffed 102 in 97 1/3 IP while also producing at a .482/.578/.795 clip. He was third in the league in ERA (behind former major leaguer Joel McKeon and Andre De Wit), tied Peter Van Walraven for second in wins (behind McKeon), was one complete game (8) shy of the lead and was third in Ks (behind McKeon and Val Walraven). He also was 7th in slugging in the high-scoring loop, between Oswald Boermans and McKeon. He played for the Belgian national team in the 1993 European Championship, playing regularly (OF, 1B, DH) when not pitching and hitting in the heart of the order. He hit .273/.407/.273 and scored 6 runs in 8 games while posting a 1-2, 2.70 record with one save. He was 9th in the Euros in ERA (between Frank Jäger and Vincent Lhoste), leading the Belgian regulars. He tied Calle Skogqvist, Javier Arrondo and Roger De Saedeleer for 7th in IP (13 1/3 IP), tied for second in games pitched (4, one behind Leonid Korneev), tied Korneev and Patrice Briones for the most starts (3), tied for third in saves and tied Danny Wout and Boermans for 9th in K (10).

The right-hander moved to the Brasschaat Braves in 1994 and helped them to a title. He was 11-1 with a 2.15 ERA and 93 K in 83 2/3 IP while batting .422/.532/.756 with 8 home runs in 90 at-bats. He led the league in ERA (.52 ahead of Frank Mathijs; McKeon did not pitch enough to qualify, 2 IP shy), wins (2 ahead of Mathijs), was 5th in strikeouts (between De Saedeleer and McKeon), 9th in average (between De Saedeleer and Rudi Brouwers), tied for 6th in home runs and was 6th in slugging (between De Saedeleer and Frank Van Droogenbroeck).

He hit .449/.546/.816 with 10 homers in 98 at-bats for the 1995 Braves as they won it all; on the mound, he had a 7-1, 2.28 record and again whiffed over a batter per inning. He was 9th in the circuit in average, 7th in runs (45), tied Wim Kerstens for 6th in home runs, 8th in slugging (between Paul Spoelders and Boermans) and tied for 4th in wins. He missed qualifying for the ERA title by 3 2/3 IP; he was nearly a full point ahead of leader Michael Leys' 3.24. In the 1995 European Championship, he batted .286/.364/.321 with 6 runs in 10 games as Belgium's main right fielder and was 1-0 with a 4.60 ERA and 21 K in 15 2/3 IP. In the Bronze Medal matches with Spain (which Belgium would win), he got a no-decision in the opener (6 2/3 IP, 6 R, 5 ER) before De Saedeleer took over and got the win. He finished among the event leaders in K/9 (6th, between Rolando Cretis and Massimiliano Masin), WHIP (10.91, 8th, between Mathijs and Rinat Makhmoutov), IP (6th) and strikeouts (2nd, 9 behind teammate Mathijs). Through 2018, it remains Belgium's most recent medal in a European Championship.

In 1996, his playing time in the field dropped (he hit .412/.508/.549 but did not finish among the average qualifiers) but he was 12-0 with a 2.58 ERA and 100 K in 80 1/3 IP to pitch Brasschaat to a title. He led the league in wins (two ahead of teammate Van Walraven, also unbeaten), was third in Ks and second in ERA (.39 behind Van Walraven). He won another title with the 1997 Braves, hitting .447/.500/.847 with 9 HR in 85 AB and going 7-0 with a 3.22 ERA and 64 K in 50 1/3 IP. He was 9th in average, 5th in slugging, tied for 9th in home runs, tied for 4th in Ks, tied Van Walraven for second in wins and would have led in ERA had he qualified (he was 8 2/3 IP shy; the titlist was at 4.73). He represented Belgium in the 1997 European Championship.

Joeri had his third straight unbeaten campaign in 1998 (6-0, 3.89) and hit .450/.508/.640. He was 9th in average again and tied for 8th in wins; he did not pitch enough to qualify for the ERA leaderboard. In '99, he helped Brasschaat rebound to a title. He hit .416/.491/.723 with 9 HR in 101 AB and went 8-2 with a 2.96 ERA. He was 3rd in wins, 3rd in ERA and tied for 5th in home runs. He did not play for Belgium in the 1999 European Championship. In 2000, he produced at a .465/.557/.919 clip and went deep in 10 of 86 at-bats. He was 5-1 with a 3.76 ERA and walked only 9 in 40 2/3 IP. He was 4th in the First Division in homers, 9th in average yet again, 8th in slugging and tied De Saedeleer for 7th in wins. The next year, he helped pitch Brasschaat to a championship (9-1, 4.08, 14 BB in 68 1/3 IP) and hit .408/.462/.757 with 10 doubles and 8 home runs. He led the league in wins for the third time, was 3rd in ERA and tied for 4th with ten doubles.

The 29-year-old was 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA and 17 hits in 9 innings in the 2001 European Championship. Manning first for Belgium, he hit .190/.320/.190 and handled 54 chances error-free. Only Thomas Riedner and Pavel Budský had more chances with a 1.000 fielding percentage at the Euros that year. He was nearly unhittable for Brasschaat in 2002 (6-0, 0.56 ERA, 28 H in 48 IP) while batting .333/.382/.450. He was 11 IP shy of qualifying for the ERA lead and amazingly would not have led; Van Walraven was at 0.39. He tied for 7th in wins. The Braves won it all again. In 2003, he played for the Oosterhout Twins in the Dutch Hoofdklasse. He was 0-2 with a 5.84 ERA in the 2003 European Championship though he led Belgium with 13 K. He lost to France and Croatia but tossed two shutout innings (1 H, 0 BB, 4 K) to close out Dennis Van Hoof's win over Germany, a combined shutout by the two hurlers. He tied for 10th in the event in both games pitched and whiffs (even with William Lucena and Martin Almstetter).

In 2004, he returned to Belgium, now with the Antwerp Royal Greys. He was 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA and batted .345/.385/.552. He tied for 5th in the circuit in wins. He helped Antwerp to their first title in 15 years during 2005 when he was 10-1 with a 1.70 ERA and also hit .281/.391/.365. The veteran won his second ERA title (.66 ahead of Van Hoof), led in wins for the fourth time and was second with 88 strikeouts. In 2006, he hit .346/.430/.593 and was 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA as the Greys won again. He would have been 5th in ERA had he qualified (he was 27 IP shy).

He finished his career 109-21 in First Division play and hit 75 home runs.