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.
Leto looks to join the Growlers following the conclusion of his senior season with Portage Central.
AUTHOR: Andre Magaro
The Kalamazoo Growlers are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 27th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 250 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB Gold Glove finalist and 2019 Second Team All-MLB shortstop Marcus Semien (TOR). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.growlersbaseball.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Growlers as your favorite team.