Wherever Baker lands, rocket right-hander ready for takeoff
The Brew Crew made the move after signing two veteran pitchers with extensive MLB experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are done with Baker.
Milwaukee could still reclaim him off waivers or another team could, so either way he’ll be pitching in 2018. The only question is where.
What’s not in question is Baker’s health.
The 25-year-old has battled multiple injures since 2015, including Tommy John surgery. But today he feels better than ever and is eager to make up for lost time.
“I am all healthy now,” he told me. “Had a minor lat injury at the end of this year but that is behind me. I’ll definitely be ready for 2018.”
Baker, of Juneau-Douglas High fame, spent the past five seasons with the Cleveland Indians organization and last summer went from Rookie Ball to Double-A, his highest level as a pro.
His fastball has touched 100 mph on the radar gun and his off-speed stuff buckles knees, helping him carve up hitters with a 16-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio and 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings.
Despite his unbelievable upside, Baker was waived by the Cleveland Indians, who drafted him in the fifth round in 2012.
“Cleveland was great to me; always made me feel like I was wanted and couldn’t wait for me to get healthy,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for more.”
In five seasons in the minor leagues, Baker compiled a career record of 12-11 with one complete game and a 3.58 ERA in 65 games, including 48 starts. He owns 213 strikeouts in 241.2 innings.
Maybe a fresh start will do him well.
“I had a lot of injuries the past three years so something new can’t be bad,” Baker said. “I am just focused on being healthy and pitching as much as I can. It’s a big year for me and I can’t wait to start.”