Mets Minors: Zach Lutz looking to force promotion with bat alone

If a player can hit over .300 with good patience and power… why isn’t he playing in the big leagues?  The answers to that question are varied but in the particular case of Zach Lutz, let’s try to get to the bottom of it.

Lutz was a 5th round pick for the Mets back in 2007.  Zach’s father, Yogi Lutz (…AWESOME!), was his coach through high school where Lutz played third base (The same position he plays today).  The fielding reports I’ve gotten on Lutz have been varied.  I read at least one poor and one good review of his defense.  This leads me to believe that he could hack it at third base… but probably not win a gold glove.

In terms of hitting, Lutz has tended to be a solid hitter.  He doesn’t have prodigious power, like Mark Reynolds, or speed, like David Wright, but he does hit… and hitting is worth something.  Let’s look at his yearly slash lines:

  • 2008, NYP – .333/.442/.514 OPS: .956
  • 2009, FSL + EAS – .278/.376/.426 OPS: .802
  • 2010, GCL + FSL + EAS + INT – .287/.380/.571 OPS: .951
  • 2011, FSL + INT – .285/.371/.482 OPS: .853
  • 2012, FSL + INT – .304/.410/.513 OPS: .923

Lutz has managed an OPS average of .877 in his minor league career.  The kind of numbers that would make an impact on a major league ball club, unfortunately for Lutz there are reasons why he hasn’t found his way into the Met lineup on a permanent basis.

  1. David Wright & Ike Davis It’s going to be mighty hard for Zach Lutz to unseat David Wright or Ike Davis from their entrenched roles on the corners of the Met infield.  Sure, both players have had their troubles, but David Wright looks likely to be signed long-term and Davis seems to have safely secured his role to live through his 2012 uncertainty.  Without the ability to play elsewhere in the field, Lutz is going to have a hard time finding a consistent role for the Mets at any point in the near future.  (Lutz is already past the average age for prospect status)
  2. Health – Zach Lutz has played 6 seasons (only 1 game in 2007) and only amassed 334 games.  He’s only played over 100 games once in his minor league career, in 2009.  Like Reese Havens, Zach needed to prove he could sustain his hitting and health to factor into Met plans and because he couldn’t… was passed over.
  3. Scouting – Despite being a 5th round pick (Not too shabby), Lutz doesn’t jump off the board as a defensive dynamo, a power hitter or a speedster.  Since he doesn’t seem to jump off the page, there has been no reason to jump him to the majors.

Zach’s future is tied, mostly, to David Wright.  If the Mets plan to jettison Wright, then the plan will be to allow Lutz (at least temporarily) to replace David in the Met lineup while they developed Wilmer Flores or Jefry Marte.  If the Mets plan to hold onto David Wright for the long-term contract I feel that the Mets will need to try to flip the value of Lutz for another player.

Around The Minors:

AAA, Bufalo

The Race For The 2013 Rotation Includes – Collin McHugh.  He’s made it to AAA and is succeeding at that level.  I wrote earlier that McHugh was similar to Dillon Gee and Chris Schwinden but that his raw stuff was superior.  That remains true.

The Good News And Bad News About – Jenrry Mejia.  Good News: He continues to be effective as a starter.  Bad News: His ability to strike batters out has vanished.

AA, Binghmaton

Let’s See More Of This From – Cory Mazzoni.  He had a nice 7 inning outing for Binghamton, his best since July 13th.  He needs to up his K-Rate to get me excited.

A+, Port St. Lucie

Cheaters CAN Prosper, Look At – Daniel Muno.  Muno served his PED suspension.  It’s done with and Muno CAN earn his way back onto prospect radars by staying clean and playing well.  Assuming the first part of that is true the second part has been solid: 1.099 OPS in his last 10 games.

Future 4th Outfielder – Alonzo Harris.  Some might say I’m not giving “Zo” enough credit.  The guy has 35 SBs, a .291/.363/.442 triple slash and 70 runs scored.  I say being a 4th OF is nothing to sneeze at.

Prospect Sighted… His Name Is – Erik Goeddel.  People love him and then hate him but his 7 innings of 2 hit ball with 8 Ks were very nice to see.  He might be forced into AA for 2013, but I’d repeat him in Port St. Lucie if I could.

A, Savannah

What’s Eating – Gilbert Gomez?  Alright, so that was just an excuse for a pun.  Anyway, he’s hitting pretty well.  Doesn’t strike me as a big enough speed or power threat to be a big impact player.

The Good Times Roll For – Camden Maron.  He’s continuing to hit and has likely forced his 2013 promotion to Port St. Lucie for sure.

R, Brooklyn

What A Game – Kevin Plawecki!  2 for 3 with 2 solo HRs and a walk.  That is the kind of day we NEED to write about.

I’m No Longer Concerned About – Brandon Nimmo. The kid is hitting and consistently.  Sure he’s not running, but hitting is what I wanted to see and I’m seeing it.

Allergic To Hits Is Good For – Hansel Robles.  In his last three games an 21 innings he’s given up only 6 hits and 1 walk.


He’s A Beast And His Name Is – Vicente Lupo.  You’ve heard this before, but I don’t recall seeing his OPS under 1.000.  I credit Mack Ade for telling me about Lupo originally and it’s been fun to watch.

He’s Little But He Has Power – Manuel Hilario.  Only 5’10” but he’s slugging .469 on the year and .674 over his last 10 games.


13 comments for “Mets Minors: Zach Lutz looking to force promotion with bat alone

  1. August 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I love the updates from the minors but want to ask this slightly off topic question:

    What are the odds of David Wright signing a long term extension?

    The reason I ask this now is that he was recently quoted as really talking up the Washington Nationals organization. It sounded very much like what we would expect a sales pitch to sound like, praising their planning, professionalism, and even the ballpark. Was it a pitch to Washington, or was it a signal to the Mets to build now. Wright talked about the Nats building for the future while laying for the current.
    Given his age, he is not likely wanting to be in a total rebuilding stage. Yet, he has the opportunity to be one of those rare marvels who play their entire career for one club and be the face of the NY Mets for years to come.

    I’d love to hear some thoughts on the topic. I am hoping he signs a long term extension but understand that there are back up plans, including the possibility of moving Daniel Murphy to his natural position at 3rd, as well as the young players mentioned here.

    thanks for a great article!

    • David Groveman
      August 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm

      Odds… I’m not one for odds but we can talk about things that make it more and less likely.

      1. David SAYS he wants to stay. The reality is, he wants to get paid and have a shot at winning. The Mets (Or The Wilpons) are financially handicapped… so they must be wary of over-payying and also Wright must be wary of the team they could build around him.
      2. David is the ONLY show in town. Met fans who go to the games are not going to see Ruben Tejada. The Mets are REALLY low on star-power and You can’t expect Ike Davis to jump right back to the level of play we hoped for. The Wilpons are therefore FORCED to make David Wright a big offer.
      3. The Mets drop the ball on these contract negotiations. In an effort to not bid against themselves, they wait for another team to set the standard and lose out on their own player. If David Wright is not extended before Spring Training ends… it’s a BAD BAD sign.
      4. Wright’s Celebrity Status is something in the Met’s favor. Here’s the fact, If David Wright left for Washington… he’s A) a Mercenary and B) The 4th best guy on the team? That means no deals with Vitamin Water etc…
      5. David Wright is White. Okay, so race has something to do with it. If Wright were from the D.R. and wasn’t SUCH a good spokesperson for the team… It’d be far less likely to re-sign him. He’s a good looking white kid and that is something that the NY Met marketing department wants.

      3rd Base Depth Chart: David Wright, Daniel Murphy, Zach Lutz, Eric Campbell, Wilmer Flores, Jefry Marte, Aderlin Rodriguez

    • steevy
      August 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm

      Zimmerman is a friend of his growing up and,let’s face it,the Mets organization has become something of a joke.I think Wright wants to stay(he’s going to be the career leader in every offensive category,already is in many).The pressure is on the Mets to pay him and convince him they will build a team around him.

      • David Groveman
        August 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm

        I think they also played with one of the Uptons.

        • Steve from Norfolk
          September 12, 2012 at 6:25 pm

          He played with B.J. Justin was the bat boy.

  2. steevy
    August 20, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I wanted Wright and Reyes both re-signed.Two of the (top five?) position players every produced by the Mets organization,both in their primes.They let both walk we are in for a long,long drought in Metland.

  3. jerseymet
    August 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    So play Lutz next week. Can Wright play left field?

    • David Groveman
      August 20, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      That would be possible. I think that Wright could have a future in the outfield but he hasn’t played there before. My biggest worry would be offending David by asking him to change position.

      Also, Lutz is hardly a given. He’s had only a short time in the majors and might nothit better than Jason Bay if/when he comes up.

      • steevy
        August 20, 2012 at 8:42 pm

        Exactly,you’re not moving a star to the OF unless you have a super prospect who needs to play third.

  4. steevy
    August 20, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Man,this game is another disaster because the Mets can’t hit!

  5. steevy
    August 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    This Moscoso,he must be one of the best relievers in the game right?Umm no,47 hits in 32 innings and an 8.07 ERA coming into this game.I want to throw things at my tv.

  6. steevy
    August 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    What a disgraceful game.Really makes me question whether I should waste my time with this crap.

  7. Metsense
    August 21, 2012 at 8:30 am

    Zach Lutz has put up good numbers at AAA and deserves to be called up and given a few starts at 3B and 1B in September. Going into ST in 2013 he should be given the opportunity to win the backup corner infield spot. Currently his competition is Justin Turner. Your last paragraph summed up the situation exactly.
    I’m not confident that Wright will sign an extension this winter for two reasons. His splits since the all star game,.252BA, 5HR,16RBI,.346/430/.776 gives Sandy an excuse to low ball him in terms of money and years. Wright stated that he wants to play on a winner and the Harvey promotion was only a “baby step” in the right direction. Wright is too much a diplomat and gentleman to say anything but that he wants to play for the Mets.
    I saw two Savannah games last week and saw Tapia for the second time and again I was impressed. His fastball has pop and movement and when he gets men on he is able to induce a GDP. This recent review sums it up perfectly:
    He should definitely make it to the big leagues as at least a relief pitcher and hopefully more.

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