Luke Edward Sommer
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 205 lb.
Luke Sommer has played in the minors, the Netherlands and Germany (where he won two MVPs).
Sommer hit .315/.402/.505 as a part-time outfielder his freshman year at the University of San Francisco. He fell to .263/.337/.450 as a starter in 2006 but had 15 doubles, 32 RBI and 4 triples (tied for second in the West Coast Conference). That summer, he put up a .258/.305/.361 for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox in the elite Cape Cod League. He slipped further, to .243/.335/.388 in 2007. The Chicago Cubs took him in the 30th round of the 2007 amateur draft; the scouts were John Bartsch and Al Geddes.
For the 2007 AZL Cubs, Sommer batted .237/.299/.401 with 6 triples, tying him for fifth in the Arizona League in three-baggers. He was the team's most-used first baseman and also saw action in the outfield. That off-season, the Cubs converted him into a pitcher. He split 2008 between the AZL Cubs (1-0, Sv, 1 R in 8 1/3 IP) and Boise Hawks (3-2, 2.61, 2 BB in 31 IP).
In 2009, Luke was very good for the Daytona Cubs, going 2-4 with 3 saves and a 2.13 ERA in 51 games. He walked only 11 and hit none in 72 innings. He led his team in appearances and was third in the Florida State League in that department. The next year, he moved up the chain with stops for Daytona (1-1, 6 Sv, 2.52), the Tennessee Smokies (1-1, 8 Sv, 2.02) and Iowa Cubs (1-0, 4.05 in 7 AAA games). The former position player was 1 for 3 with a double and a run at the plate. He was picked for the Southern League All-Star Game. He led all Cubs farmhands with 58 games pitched that year and also had the most saves of anyone in the Chicago chain.
The Oregonian started 2011 back with the Smokies but struggled (9 R, 18 H in 10 IP, one save) and got released. Signed by the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, he was 4-5 with a save and a 4.02 ERA in 36 games (6 starts).
For 2012, Sommer signed with Corendon Kinheim of the Hoofdklasse. He debuted on April 7, facing Kevin Miner and the Vaessen Pioniers. Sommer had a rough outing, with four runs in four innings (3 on a Mike Duursma double) before getting yanked. Kinheim rallied for a 8-5 win; Pim Walsma got the decision. He finished the year 10-2 with a 2.05 ERA and walked only 10 in 92 IP. He finished 8th in the 2012 Hoofdklasse in ERA (between Kevin Heijstek and Orlando Yntema), 4th in innings (between Ben Grover and Elton Koeiman), 5th in strikeouts (76, between Rob Cordemans and Grover), tied Cordemans for second in wins (one behind Diegomar Markwell) and tied T.J. Macy and Yntema for second in starts (14, one behind Kinheim ace David Bergman). Kinheim stunned Neptunus in a sweep of the 2012 Holland Series; Sommer started and won game 3 (8 H, 3 R, 2 ER in 7 IP) to beat Tim Roodenburg.
Sommer was a late addition to the German national team for the 2012 European Championship (his father is German). He had a no-decision against the Czech Republic, allowing 10 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs in 6 2/3 IP while fanning 8; Martin Dewald relieved and got the win. He turned in a strong start against the champion Italians, blanking them for five, but allowed two runs after that in a 3-0 loss to Tiago Da Silva.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he relieved Alex Burgos with a 4-4 tie against Team Canada and tossed 3 shutout innings before a Tyson Gillies homer in the 7th to break the tie before Justin Kuehn relieved him; Luke took the loss in a 16-7 game despite being Germany's top hurler. He also did well against Canada in a 11-1 loss in the pool finale with a spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic at stake. Relieving Eugen Heilmann, he allowed one run (a Jimmy Van Ostrand homer) in 3 1/3 IP, striking out three, before Will Ohman relieved. He had the best ERA of any German national team hurler in the event who allowed an earned run.
For 2013, he signed with Germany's Heidenheim Heideköpfe. He went 9-1 with a 1.36 ERA and led the southern Bundesliga-1 in ERA (edging out Mike Bolsenbroek); he won MVP honors. In the 2014 European Championship, he blanked France for four innings but then served up a homer to Rene Leveret en route to a three-run inning (only one run was earned). He took the decision in a 3-2 loss to Owen Ozanich. In a key game with Spain, he relieved Harry Glynne with a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the 5th, two on and none out; he let the inherited run score but escaped further harm. He pitched shutout ball in the 6th and 7th to keep it 3-1 but allowed the first three batters to reach in the 8th; Enorbel Marquez relieved but Spain finished the comeback to win 4-3.
In the summer of 2014, Sommer continued to excel for Heidenheim at 8-0, 1.05 with a save; he also hit .362/.444/.710 with 23 runs and 22 RBI in 20 games as a backup outfielder. He again led in ERA (.38 ahead of Jan-Niclas Stöcklin), was second in wins (one behind Tyler Lockwood), was second to Stöcklin in WHIP and opponent average and also was 8th in average (between Spencer Kuehn and Josh Petersen), third in slugging (between Thomas De Wolf and Andrew Smith) and tied for 7th in home runs (5). He repeated as MVP as a result. He was the first repeat MVP in Germany since Ryan Balan in 2004-2005.
He only saw limited action for Heidenheim in 2015 as they went on to win the pennant. He was 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in four starts and only 2 for 19 with 3 walks, a double and a homer at the plate. He played regularly in the 2015 European Cup, going 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA, losing to ASD Rimini and Draci Brno. He was 6 for 12 with two walks, two hit-by-pitch, two sacrifice flies, two doubles, two runs and three RBI on offense, though. He tied Stijn van der Meer for third in the event in average, tied for second in slugging (.013 behind Dwayne Kemp), was second in OBP (.007 behind Edgar Mundarain), tied for 4th in doubles, tied for second in hit-by-pitch, tied van der Meer for the most sac flies, tied Markwell for second in IP, was second in whiffs by a pitcher (13, 3 behind Leonel Cespedes) and tied Serhiy Shtapura for the most losses.
In the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in March 2016, he relieved Markus Solbach in the 7th with a 3-2 lead over Nicaragua, hoping for an upset. He allowed one hit in a scoreless 7th. In the 8th, he gave up a hit to Elmer Reyes and walked Jairo Beras with two outs, then was relieved by Dewald, who got out out of the jam. Germany blew the lead in the 9th, though, and lost in extra innings. Sommer then spent most of 2016 in the US, training to be a firefighter and building a house for his family. He returned briefly for Heidenheim, going 2 for 7 at the plate and 2-1, 1.00 on the mound (albeit with a 3.00 RA), slated to start work as a firefighter after the season.