Blue Springs High School graduate Jake Lufft had always dreamed of becoming a Major League Baseball player growing up.
He admired players like the Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout and former Kansas City Royals players like Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. He wanted to be in their shoes one day.
That’s why the two-time, all-state infielder made a big decision on his future in baseball before his graduation in 2018. He originally verbally committed to Pittsburg State, but changed to State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo., where he said he feels like he has a better shot of getting drafted by a major league team.
“The (MLB Amateur) Draft was 100 percent the reason why I transferred,” Lufft said. “Instead of waiting three years, I could have waited one, but I didn’t get drafted. I could always get drafted next year.
“I feel like more people prefer (junior colleges), it’s not as difficult of a path (to MLB). Just as many scouts come and watch your games at the JUCO level as they do at the (Division I) or (Division II) level.”
So far, Lufft has built a pretty impressive resume at State Fair Community College. He had a .304 batting average with eight home runs, 43 RBIs and had a .973 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging percentage) in 39 games (stats were not added online from State Fair’s final four games).
He missed a month’s worth of games with back spasms and still managed to finish second on the team in home runs and RBIs.
“I started out pretty slow, but I kept working in the cages,” Lufft said of his return from injury, “I just started hitting and kept my foot on the throttle.”
Currently, Lufft is playing for the Sedalia Bombers of the MINK (Missouri-Iowa-Nebraska-Kansas) League – a collegiate league in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas) – this summer and he’s fared well with them, as well, earning a spot in the MINK All-Star Game.
Through eight games, he’s hit .485 with two home runs and 14 RBIs as he continues to try and improve his game.
“I like it. It keeps me busy,” Lufft, a third baseman, said of playing for the Bombers, said. “I am seeing the ball really well.
“I would like to get close to .400 and hit 13 home runs and 40 RBIs.”
But even while Lufft is putting up some gaudy stats, there’s still room for improvement, he said. The now college sophomore said he wants to work on hitting the slider and hitting the ball the opposite way. In high school, he was mostly a pull hitter.
“I feel like if I get more power hitting the other way (I could get more attention from scouts),” Lufft said. “I am just not doing it consistently on the outside pitches. If I can do that, I can be a very good hitter.”
Lufft still hopes he can get drafted following his sophomore season at State Fair, but if that doesn’t happen, he wants to go to a Division I school.
“A Division II school would suffice, as well, I just want to go play somewhere,” Lufft said. “Mizzou would be really cool to go to. They are a good program and it’s close.”