The St. Louis Cardinals selected the contract of first baseman Luken (LOO-kehn) Baker from Triple-A Memphis and designated for assignment catcher Tres Barrera (trayce buh-RAIR-uh).
Baker, 26, was batting .313 with 18 home runs and 53 RBI through 54 games at Memphis and was tied for the lead in home runs among all minor league players with Jo Adell of Salt Lake, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. His 53 RBI ranks 3rd in the Minors including a stretch of seven games with an RBI from May 23-30. His legend grew when he splintered his bat in half and still hit a mammoth 412-foot home run vs. Norfolk at Autozone Park on May 28.
He was first drafted by the Houston Astros in the 37th round (1,099th overall) of the 2015 Major League Draft, but did not sign, electing to attend college and play baseball at Texas Christian University. The Cardinals used their second round Compensation Pick in 2018 (75th overall) to draft and sign the 6-foot-4, 285 lb., slugger.
Baker was the 2015 Gatorade National Player of the Year out of Oak Ridge High School in Conroe, Texas, becoming the first Gatorade National Player of the Year to attend college and not sign professionally since Drew Henson, the two-sport athlete of football and baseball, who played quarterback at the University of Michigan with Tom Brady in 1998.
When he sees his first Major League action, Baker will become the third Cardinals player this season to make his debut joining outfielder Jordan Walker and right-handed pitcher Guillermo Zuñiga. Baker is no stranger to Major League ballparks as he has already participated in a home run derby at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and Minnesota’s Target Field in 2014.
Baker played in 438 minor league games before the call-up batting .257 with 79 home runs and 264 RBI. He will wear uniform No. 26.
Barrera, 28, played in six games while in St. Louis and registered two at-bats.