KALAMAZOO, MI — Even with players converging from all throughout the United States (and beyond) to join the Kalamazoo Growlers, there is no shortage of local talent on display at Homer Stryker Field any given summer. The 2021 season is no exception, as Luke Leto, one of the biggest names to come from the area in quite some time, looks to take the Northwoods League by storm.
As of April 2019, Leto was believed to be the no. 1 overall prospect in the 2021 MLB Draft. While the COVID-19 pandemic canceled his junior season at Portage Central High School and derailed his baseball activities for over a year, Leto remains an incredible standout on the diamond.
Rewinding a bit, Leto has impressed at the high school level throughout his four years at Portage Central. As a freshman, Leto hit an astounding .524, with a .762 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage just north of .600. This continued into his sophomore campaign, where he posted a .371 batting average, 10 triples, 21 RBI, and was a remarkable 36 for 37 on attempted stolen bases.
The 21 month layoff from high school baseball didn’t seem to affect Leto one bit. Through 21 games this season, he’s maintained a .452 batting average with 6 home runs, 2 triples, 18 RBI and 19 stolen bases for the Mustangs, all while continuing to provide plenty of range, arm strength and accuracy at shortstop.
Aside from Portage Central, Leto also has experience playing with Team USA the past three years. He hit .364 with 8 RBI in 9 games back in 2018, while being named an All-World Third Baseman en route to a U-15 baseball World Cup Title in Panama.
For Leto, the path to college baseball was more straightforward than most. Following his standout freshman season, Leto was offered by LSU. He credits his time with Team USA, in addition to numerous trips to Georgia and Florida for travel ball, as reasons for drifting onto the Tigers’ radar. As a big fan of the Tigers ever since his childhood, it was an easy decision for him to commit his collegiate career to the bayou.
That being said, LSU wasn’t the only baseball team Leto cherished from a very young age. Growing up in the Kalamazoo area, Leto is no stranger to Homer Stryker Field. After attending numerous games throughout his youth, this local product is excited to represent his roots on this stage.
Named as a co-winner of Michigan’s Mr. Baseball in 2021, Leto makes his home debut with the Growlers Friday, July 2nd. Come watch his debut plus a huge fireworks show. Get your tickets!