By Jim Lane
CURVE, Pa. – The Curve have been near the top of the Eastern League’s Western Division most of the season and the powerful bat of Jordan Luplow is one of the big reasons.
As of June 8, Luplow had belted 14 home runs – tops on the team and third in the league. His 13 doubles were third-best on the club. He was second on the team with 22 walks.
“I really don’t consider myself a power hitter,” said Luplow, who hit 12 homers in 2015 at Class A West Virginia and 10 a year ago at Advanced A Bradenton. “I’m just trying to put the bat on the ball and win games.”
Drafted in the third round (100th overall) by the Pirates in 2014, Luplow always has been a hitter.
At Buchanan High School in Clovis, Calif., Luplow made first-team all-conference as a junior, hitting .420 with 8 homers, 11 doubles and 30 RBIs. He participated in both the California North/South series and Rawlings NorCal World Series.
He missed most of his senior season after suffering a torn labrum in his shoulder during football, but still received a scholarship for baseball to Fresno State.
A high school football standout – he played cornerback, receiver and kicker – and had some college opportunities as a kicker.
“I loved playing football, so I stuck with it and didn’t concentrate on baseball in high school,” Luplow said. “I had a good time, but got hurt unfortunately. However, I was glad I played. I was pretty close to going to UCLA as a kicker, but it didn’t pan out.”
However, his baseball career at Fresno State did pan out.
“It was a great decision for me,” he said. “It was my home town, my parents were able to watch me and I had a great relationship with the coach. From my freshman year on, I played right field. No matter what – good, bad – he stuck with me and it was a real fun time.”
As a freshman, Luplow played in all 59 games at Fresno and hit .279 with two homers, 34 RBIs and was named WAC Tournament MVP. As a sophomore, he played in 41 games and batted .278 with 3 homers, 9 doubles and 3 triples.
He was even more impressive his junior season when he was named Mountain West Player-of-the-Year with a .377 average. He was first team all-conference and second team All-America while leading the Bulldogs in slugging (.609), runs scored (40), hits (81), homers (9), RBIs (48), and doubles (21).
Luplow’s pro career has been solid, too. He spent 2014 with short-season Jamestown, hitting .277 in 62 games with 17 outfield assists in 58 games in the field. He was named team MVP. In 2015, he batted .264 in 106 games for Class A West Virginia. In 2016, Luplow batted .254 in 104 games for Florida State League champion Bradenton (Advanced A).
“A lot of our draft class is still together,” Luplow noted. “We’ve known each other for three or four years and it helped us last year and now, too. Plus, we have Michael Ryan as our manager again and that’s a good thing because he knows all of us and we know him. His door is always open.”
Growing up, Luplow was a fan of the San Francisco Giants and also of Mets third baseman David Wright.
“I played third base in high school and always admired David Wright,” he said. “He’s always been great on and off the field – always a professional. I’ve tried to model myself after him.”