- Full name Luke John Hagerty
- Born 04/01/1981 in Steubenville, OH
- Profile Ht.: 6'7" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School Ball State
Drafted in the 1st round (32nd overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2002 (signed for $1,150,000).
View Draft ReportHagerty was nothing more than a projection during his first two years at Ball State. He pitched sparingly and emerged last summer in the Central Illinois Collegiate League. He's added 10 mph to his fastball and 30 pounds to his imposing 6-foot-8, 230-pound frame since he was recruited out of high school. His fastball registered up to 93-94 mph last summer and he has consistently worked in the 88-92 range with good running movement this spring. Because Hagerty threw just 41 innings as a freshman and sophomore, he tired as this season wore on, causing him to get on the side of his breaking ball. When he's on, it's a hard, sharp breaker, but it lost some of its bite down the stretch. Still, there's the projection scouts love--his father is 6-foot-9--and his arm comes with low mileage. Hagerty ranked second to Bullington in ERA in the MAC at 2.27 while striking out 81 in 71 innings.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Several teams showed interest in Hagerty in the second half of the first round of 2002's draft, but he slipped to the Cubs in the supplemental round. That looked like a steal when he was throwing a mid-90s fastball with life and an improved slider the next spring. But before his final spring start in 2003, Hagerty felt a pop in his elbow, and he needed Tommy John surgery. He made it back to the mound in June 2004, but he worked just 23 innings and was shut down early because between rehabbing and pitching, he had worked nonstop for 14 months. Hagerty showed flashes of his old stuff, but like most pitchers recovering from Tommy John surgery, his control was off. Because he's so far from being ready for the majors, Chicago didn't protect him on its 40-man roster, only to see the Orioles take him in the major league Rule 5 draft and trade him to the Marlins. Florida will have to carry Hagerty on its major league roster all year or offer him back to the Cubs for half the $50,000 draft price. Hagerty needs more minor league seasoning, but the Marlins will try to nurse him back to full strength while giving him on-the-job training in middle relief. His mechanics are smooth, especially considering his size, which bodes well for his future health. Besides getting back to 100 percent, his biggest need is to improve a rudimentary changeup.
Hagerty looked so good in spring training last year that scouts wondered how he could have lasted 32 picks in the 2003 draft, or gone 31 picks after his former Ball State teammate, Bryan Bullington. Hagerty's lively fastball was crackling in the mid-90s, and his slider was much improved, giving him a second nasty pitch. But while warming up for his final spring training start, Hagerty felt a pop in his elbow. Then he received an unwanted 22nd birthday present: An MRI that revealed he needed Tommy John surgery. The operation and rehabilitation have gone well, and Hagerty should return to the mound in mid-2004. The track record of Tommy John patients is good, and Kerry Wood on the parent Cubs provides a local source of inspiration. Hagerty will have to regain his plus stuff, which he should be able to do given his work ethic, and develop a reliable changeup. The elbow injury was a total shock because he hadn't experienced any physical problems and he has stress-free mechanics, especially for a pitcher as large as he is. Like most Tommy John survivors, it probably will take him two years to get back to 100 percent, which would be 2005 in his case. Loaded with quality pitchers, the Cubs are more than willing to wait for another.
Hagerty played second fiddle to No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington at Ball State and to Bobby Brownlie in Chicago's 2002 draft. While the Cubs still hadn't signed Brownlie in January, their sense of urgency was reduced by Hagerty's performance in his pro debut. He was more consistent than he was in college and looks like a steal for where he went (32nd overall) and what he signed for ($1.15 million). He'll need time to develop, but Hagerty oozes potential as a strong 6-foot-7 lefthander. He throws 88-94 mph with late life, and he projects to add velocity. His slider is average at times and should give him a second plus pitch once he refines it. For a pitcher his size, Hagerty has fairly smooth mechanics and throws without effort, which gives him good command. Hagerty was up and down during the spring at Ball State, which is why he fell from the top half of the first round. His changeup has a ways to go, and his fastball and slider also need work. But all the ingredients are there. The pitching-rich Cubs have the luxury of letting Hagerty move at his own timetable. They'll probably start him at low Class A in 2003.
Minor League Top Prospects
Hagerty teamed with No. 1 overall pick Bryan Bullington at Ball State, but got a little closer to the big leagues than Bullington by signing early as a supplemental first-round pick, then helping pitch Boise into the playoffs. He first emerged last summer in the Central Illinois Collegiate League, and spent this spring was his first as a full-time starter in college. While not as polished as more experienced college pitchers, Hagerty is further ahead than his slightly larger teammate, Sisco. McFarland said Hagerty gets better extension and has more consistent mechanics, making good use of his 6-foot-8, 240-pound frame. That helps give his 90-91 mph fastball late explosive life. His changeup is his second pitch, and he's working on a slider. "His velocity is so easy and the pitch has such late life that even though he doesn't throw it as hard as Andy, his fastball is a better pitch," McFarland said. "He can spot his fastball on both sides of the plate with that velocity and has a good changeup, which he also spots well."