Redbirds slugger Luken Baker enjoying career year in Memphis

Published: May. 23, 2023 at 6:33 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It didn’t take long for Luken Baker to figure out he was locked in for 2023.

“Well I mean first game of the year, first at-bat, you know, hit a homer. Second at-bat hit a double, and in that game, (went) 3-4,” Baker explains. “I’ve never had a start like that, I’ve never had a first game like that. So it’s easy to keep rolling from there.”

The roll hasn’t stopped. Baker entered the week leading the International League in home runs, and top-5 in a number of other offensive categories.

“It’s something that I’ve expected from myself my whole career and it’s finally coming to life.”

Baker hit 21 homers for Memphis last year, but struggled in other parts of his game, mainly getting on base.

This season, he’s been stellar across the board. What’s changed?

“Not a whole lot of different stuff, just a whole lot of consistency,” said Baker.

“You know I see a little shorter swing with Luken,” Redbirds’ manager Ben Johnson says. “I think he’s cut his swing down. He’s got a more consistent two-strike approach.”

Baker is 26 and been playing Minor League ball since 2018 without a call to the show yet. His path to the Major Leagues looks blocked with the logjam of position players the Cardinals have.

It’s something he won’t let himself get wrapped up in.

“That’s something that’s really out of my control,” says Baker. “I just have to keep showing up and being consistent in my work and what I do and things will work out.”

“That’s the thing that we tell the guys: Even though we’re all St. Louis Cardinals, if you’re the right guy for another organization and they want to make it happen, they can make it happen,” Redbirds hitting coach Howie Clark explains.

“You keep putting up numbers, it can’t go unnoticed. Something will happen.”

And the monstrous success from the enormous man hasn’t changed the 6′4, 280 pound Baker in the clubhouse or in the dugout at all this season.

“He may not want me to say this, but for me Luken is a big teddy bear man,” said Johnson with a laugh. “I mean he’s just a really nice guy, everyone likes him, everyone gets along with him.”

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