Jimmy Kali’i Loper was born in Honolulu, but the family relocated to the American mainland, with Jimmy attending Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Virginia. A member of the swim team in addition to the baseball team, Loper lettered all four years he attended Hickory, earning all-conference honors multiple times. A follow for scouts and evaluators, the right-hander went undrafted in the 2018 MLB Draft and honored his commitment to Duke University.
Loper did not play for the Blue Devils in his freshman season but was able to throw a handful of competitive innings, playing for the North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Returning to Duke in 2020, his sophomore year, he once again was not able to pitch much, this time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The right-hander finally was able to play a full season in 2021, appearing in 25 games out of the Duke bullpen, posting a 3.00 ERA in 45.0 innings, allowing 46 hits, walking 12, and striking out 43. Loper went undrafted in the 2021 MLB Draft and returned to Duke for his senior season. Head coach Chris Pollard appointed Loper the Blue Devil’s closer- he was a late innings, high-leverage reliever in 2021- and the right-hander posted a 4.44 ERA in 48.2 innings over 24 games, allowing 45 hits, walking 17, and striking out 64.
The 6’4”, 215-pound Loper has a solid pitching build. He throws from three-quarters arm slot with a long action through the back. Loper throws strikes and challenges hitters.
His fastball sits in the low-to-mid-90s, generally sitting 92, 93 MPH. Sitting in that velocity band is fine for a right-handed pitcher, but the pitch does not have a third gear and is rarely thrown much higher. He complements the pitch with a curveball and a slider. His curveball is his best secondary pitch, sitting in the upper-70s-to-low-80s featuring tight 11-5 break. His slider sits in the mid-to-upper-80s and features late, hard two-plane break.