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Frogs in the Pros: Luken Baker makes MLB debut with St. Louis Cardinals

The former Horned Frog slugger went 2-for-4 as the designated hitter during Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

MLB: St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Former TCU slugger Luken Baker became the second Horned Frog to make his MLB Debut this season. Baker went 2-for-4 with two singles as the designated hitter for the St. Louis Cardinals during the team’s 2-1 loss against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon. The 26-year-old was selected in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft and spent roughly five years in the minor leagues before receiving his major-league call-up this weekend.

Baker had been on a tear for the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds this season, slashing .313/.434/.641 with 18 home runs and 53 RBIs before receiving his promotion to the major-league club. The Horned Frog first baseman/designated hitter totaled 79 homers and 264 RBIs across five minor-league seasons with the Cardinals, who are currently in last place with a 25-35 overall record in the NL Central Division. After the 2020 minor-league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baker started the 2021 season with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals before being promoted to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds for the 2022 season, where he slashed .228/.289/.394 with 21 homers and 66 RBIs.

Baker’s offensive prowess dates back to his days with the TCU baseball team, where the former Horned Frog standout recorded a .347/.465/.561 slash line with 28 homers and 129 RBIs across three collegiate seasons. Despite missing chunks of his collegiate career with a series of injuries, Baker earned All-Big 12 First Team honors in 2016 and 2017 and was both an All-Big 12 Freshman Team and NCAA Fort Worth All-Regional Team member in 2016. Baker becomes the 46th TCU baseball player to make the major leagues and the second former Horned Frog to debut this season after Brandon Williamson was called up to start for the Cincinnati Reds, who also roster another former TCU star in left-hander Nick Lodolo.

There are now six former TCU baseball players including Baker, Williamson and Lodolo as well as infielder Matt Carpenter (San Diego Padres) and pitchers Alex Young (Cincinnati Reds) and Tyler Alexander (Detroit Tigers) who are currently on active MLB rosters.