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.
- 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)
- 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.
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.