Luke John Hagerty
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 7", Weight 230 lb.
- School Ball State University, Arizona State University
- High School Defiance High School
Luke Hagerty was a first-round pick whose career was derailed by injury.
As a college junior, Luke was 7-4 with a 3.02 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 83 innings. He was second in the Mid-American Conference in ERA behind teammate Bryan Bullington and joined Bullington and Dirk Hayhurst on the All-Conference team. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 1st round of the 2002 amateur draft, Chicago's second selection after Bobby Brownlie. The pick was compensation for the loss of David Weathers to free agency. All four Chicago first-round picks that year were hurlers: Brownlie, Hagerty, Chadd Blasko and Matt Clanton. Hagerty signed for a $1,150,000 bonus. He was signed by scout Scott May and made his pro debut that summer with the Boise Hawks, posting a 5-3 record with a 1.12 ERA in 10 starts. He also won the last game of the Northwest League playoffs, fanning 10, to give Boise the title. Baseball America rated him as the league's #4 prospect after Andy Sisco, Fred Lewis and Ismael Castro and ahead of rotation mates Jae-Kuk Ryu (#5) and Ricky Nolasco (#16). Had he qualified, he would have easily led the NWL in ERA.
Hagerty felt a pop in his elbow in spring 2003. He missed the entire season after Tommy John surgery, and never again posted a season ERA under 6.00. In 2004, he was with the AZL Cubs (0-1, 2.63) and Boise (0-2, 12.00, 15 H, 9 BB in 9 IP). Hagerty was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2004 Rule V Draft, then traded to the Florida Marlins. The Marlins didn't keep him on the major league roster for 2005, so had to return him to the Cubs. With Boise for a third time, he again struggled, with 30 walks, 9 wild pitches, 14 hits and 26 runs (23 earned) in 6 2/3 IP. He was 0-1 with a 31.05 ERA, a far cry from 3 years prior. With the 2007 Daytona Cubs, the former prospect was 0-2 with 9 walks, 4 hits and 7 runs (5 earned) in 3 innings. He was a victim of "Steve Blass disease" and had seemingly completely lost his control.
Let go by Chicago, he got a couple tries in the independent leagues with the 2007 Rockford Riverhawks (0-1, 5 R, 8 BB, 3 WP in 1 1/3 IP) and 2008 Schaumburg Flyers (15 R, 16 BB in 13 1/3 IP). Overall, Hagerty was 5-10 with a 6.35 ERA in 45 minor league games (20 starts), with 92 walks and 21 wild pitches in 95 innings.
This seemed to be the end for his career, but he resurfaced in 2019 when the Cubs gave him another minor league contract after witnessing him hit the upper 90's on the radar gun in a workout in front of major league scouts, in addition to a solid breaking ball. In between, he had attended Arizona State University and become a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He also worked as a coach for aspiring young pitchers, using advanced technologies, which is how he determined that his numbers were back to major league quality, encouraging him to attempt a try-out.
Sources include 2003 Baseball Almanac
- Jordan Bastian: "Cubs lefty hitting upper-90s after 13-year hiatus: Hagerty eyes amazing comeback with club that drafted him in '02", mlb.com, March 12, 2019.