TCU slugger Luken Baker, who hit seven home runs in postseason as the Horned Frogs reached a third consecutive College World Series last season, is evaluating whether to try pitching again.
He missed the last two months of the season after leaving a game in April with a muscle strain in his forearm. He did not pitch the rest of the year or in the summer, and he’s not expected to pitch in fall practice.
“I think he’s going through some things figuring out what he wants to do in his career and what the best thing is going forward,” coach Jim Schlossnagle said this week as the Frogs began fall workouts. “He will revisit it in the future.”
TCU’s fall work schedule began Tuesday with the first of 28 practices over 45 days. Intrasquad scrimmages are open to the public.
Baker, an elite two-way recruit out of Conroe Oak Ridge in 2015, was 3-1 with a 1.70 earned run average, 41 strikeouts and 16 walks in 10 starts covering 47 2/3 innings for TCU. Hitting cleanup as the designated hitter, he hit a team-best .379 with 11 home runs and a team-high 62 runs batted in. He also led the team in slugging, on-base percentage and runs scored.
“Right now, we’re optimistic about what the season is going to bring,” Baker said, asked about possibly pitching again. “Taking it step by step. See what happens.”
Baker’s potential as a hitter is clear. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound slugger hit four home runs in five games to help TCU win the Big 12 tournament, homered in the Super Regional series opener at Texas A&M and again in each of the first two games of the College World Series, including a ninth-inning home run that won the opener.
“Yeah, it was fun,” Baker said. “I enjoyed it. But that was last year, and last year’s not right now.”