CHICO, Calif. - A Chico State alum is bringing the heat in minor league baseball.
Luke Barker is a pitcher for the Nashville Sounds, the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate. His love for baseball started here in Chico.
“Pitching is the purest one-on-one thing in sports,” Barker said. “It’s between you and the hitter. There’s nothing really like it.”
Barker’s parents signed him up for tee-ball when he was five. He quickly found his passion.
“I played soccer and basketball and stuff too, but baseball was always my favorite growing up,” he said.
Barker’s parents work in Chico State Athletics. He grew up going to games. It’s no surprise that he took the field there himself.
“Being an athlete there was awesome because I watched those guys for years and years,” Barker said. “All of a sudden I was one of them. That was pretty cool.”
Coach Dave Taylor coached Barker while he played at Chico State.
“I would find him out here with his dad and a bucket of balls just to get some work in during the holidays,” he said. “That type of work ethic and determination to be his best was second-to-none.”
“Playing for Coach Taylor was huge because you learn so much from a guy like that,” Barker said.
After playing at Chico State, Luke spent some time in an independent baseball league. In 2017, he signed with the Brewers organization.
“From there, it was just working your way through the system,” Barker said. “I was one of the older guys in each team because I got a late start. Just pitched my way through each level. The Brewers have given me chances.”
Barker has stepped up to the plate with every opportunity. Coach Taylor is hopeful he’ll get called up to the Majors soon.
“Several of us have our travel agents on speed dial,” he said. “So once that happens, we’re gonna be on that. We’ll look forward to that.”
Barker has played really well this season. He’s played in 20 games with a 2.91 ERA. He averages over a strikeout an inning.