Scouting Mets Prospect #21: Zach Lutz

One of the biggest disappointments born out of the last two draft classes has been the inability of third baseman Zach Lutz to remain injury free. When healthy, Lutz is a dynamic hitter who owns a fast glove. Now it is a matter of getting him healthy so his talent can come to fruition.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Zach Lutz
DOB: June 3, 1986
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Status: 5th Round Pick (2007) – Alvernia College (PA)

When the Mets selected third baseman Zach Lutz in the fifth round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of small Alvernia College, they knew they scored high value. There was high excitement surrounding Lutz's first assignment to Brooklyn following his selection as scouts and coaches anticipated seeing his tools in action.

However, observers never got a chance to see his mature approach at the plate and disciplined swing. His rookie season ended after just two at-bats following a broken bone in his right foot which he injured while in the field.

The organization and all those around Lutz' development had to rewind those feelings when the 2008 New York-Penn League season began. The third baseman turned 22 only weeks before the start of his second stint in Brooklyn and following rigorous rehabilitation was ready to make up for lost time.

"It was tough, I never really had a seriously injury like that before," Lutz told InsidePitchMagazine.com back in June. "Everything happened in the off-season. I just worked my tail off to get back."

The start to his second season could not have gone any better. Through the first 15 games Lutz' .354 batting average led the club and he hit one home run and drove in nine runs. He demonstrated his line-to-line power, an impeccable eye for the strike zone and things were looking up.

But on July 6, he suffered an injury in the same foot which forced him out of the lineup for the next few days. He returned, but was under the very watchful eye of manager Edgar Alfonzo and coordinators who monitored his injury situation.

Over the next week and a half, he popped two more home runs, drove in another three runs and settled on a .333 average, but his season ended soon thereafter following a severe hematoma combined with continued foot and ankle issues. Nonetheless, Alfonzo—in his second year back with Brooklyn—outlined the positives he saw in the third baseman.

"Last year he got hurt really early on and lost his opportunity in his first season, but this year he was a .300 hitter so that was real bad for the team [when he went down]," Alfonzo said. "Lutz can hit and he can play defense that's for certain. He shows very good gap power and the ability to use the whole field."

"Defensively, he's not flashy but he makes all the plays and has a real good arm. The thing about his season is that he [played] hurt so that led to some mistakes, but as long as he stays healthy, we've got a real good player."

That is the sentiment shared by many within the Mets player development personnel, but every day and every chance Lutz misses in playing time, the quicker he must compensate for it. The organization knows they have a bona fide third base prospect in Lutz, but he must get healthy and stay on the field for a full season.

"Just staying healthy, that's the main thing right now," he said. "My strengths and weaknesses, I don't really know right now because I haven't played [a full year]"

"I don't put any pressure on myself," he added. "I just go out there every night and work hard."

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2008

Brooklyn

.333

72

24

3

12

9

0

14

12

.442

.514

2007

Brooklyn

.000

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

.000



Batting and Power: There is virtually no in-season track record of Lutz' to follow, but in limited time and in mini-camps, he has shown the capacity for power and a solid approach to the opposite field. He is very balanced at the plate and lets the ball travel deeper into the strike zone which allows for him to drive the ball the other way. Conversely, he has shown enough bat speed to the pull the ball with home run power. He has a very good eye and sense of the strike zone, knowing how to work at-bats and take walks.

Base Running and Speed: Lutz runs with determination and has tremendous base running instincts which helps compensate for the fact that he has only slightly above average speed. When he entered the system, it was believed he could swipe his share of bases, but this upcoming season he will need to assuage fears of about his speed following his recurring foot and ankle injuries.

Defense: His running speed will be a focus this spring, but Lutz relies on his quickness and good first step around the third base bag. Dramatics come few and far between, but he is solid in every aspect of his defense with good instincts, reactions, and aggressiveness. He tops it all off with a very strong arm that could persuade the Mets to try him in the outfield in the near future.

Projection: Lutz' projection is rather difficult with the circulating concerns about his long term health and the possibility they could prevent him from making it all the way. His mature stroke, sound defense, baseball smarts and coach-ability should help expedite his path to the big leagues following two seasons truncated by injury, but he will have to prove through his play that he is deserving of a quick ascension. His skills with the bat and plate discipline give him the tools to be a big leaguer, but a future in an infield/outfield utility role is likely.

ETA: 2011. Even though he has played in just 25 games over his first two seasons, do not put it past the Mets to have Lutz open 2009 in Savannah to get him on a faster track. Aside from good health, what Lutz needs more than anything is consistent playing time. The South Atlantic League will present its challenges considering how infrequently he saw the field the last two years, but he has the tools to battle in A-ball and put himself on pace to debut in the latter half of the 2011 season.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Zach Lutz
\r\nDOB: June 3, 1986
\r\nHeight: 6'1\"
\r\nWeight: 220
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\nStatus: 5th Round Pick (2007) – Alvernia College (PA)
\r\n
\r\nWhen the Mets selected third baseman Zach Lutz in the fifth round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of small Alvernia College, they knew they scored high value. There was high excitement surrounding Lutz's first assignment to Brooklyn following his selection as scouts and coaches anticipated seeing his tools in action.
\r\n
\r\nHowever, observers never got a chance to see his mature approach at the plate and disciplined swing. His rookie season ended after just two at-bats following a broken bone in his right foot which he injured while in the field.
\r\n
\r\nThe organization and all those around Lutz' development had to rewind those feelings when the 2008 New York-Penn League season began. The third baseman turned 22 only weeks before the start of his second stint in Brooklyn and following rigorous rehabilitation was ready to make up for lost time.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was tough, I never really had a seriously injury like that before,\" Lutz told InsidePitchMagazine.com back in June. \"Everything happened in the off-season. I just worked my tail off to get back.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe start to his second season could not have gone any better. Through the first 15 games Lutz' .354 batting average led the club and he hit one home run and drove in nine runs. He demonstrated his line-to-line power, an impeccable eye for the strike zone and things were looking up.
\r\n
\r\nBut on July 6, he suffered an injury in the same foot which forced him out of the lineup for the next few days. He returned, but was under the very watchful eye of manager Edgar Alfonzo and coordinators who monitored his injury situation.
\r\n
\r\nOver the next week and a half, he popped two more home runs, drove in another three runs and settled on a .333 average, but his season ended soon thereafter following a severe hematoma combined with continued foot and ankle issues. Nonetheless, Alfonzo—in his second year back with Brooklyn—outlined the positives he saw in the third baseman.
\r\n
\r\n\"Last year he got hurt really early on and lost his opportunity in his first season, but this year he was a .300 hitter so that was real bad for the team [when he went down],\" Alfonzo said. \"Lutz can hit and he can play defense that's for certain. He shows very good gap power and the ability to use the whole field.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"Defensively, he's not flashy but he makes all the plays and has a real good arm. The thing about his season is that he [played] hurt so that led to some mistakes, but as long as he stays healthy, we've got a real good player.\"
\r\n
\r\nThat is the sentiment shared by many within the Mets player development personnel, but every day and every chance Lutz misses in playing time, the quicker he must compensate for it. The organization knows they have a bona fide third base prospect in Lutz, but he must get healthy and stay on the field for a full season.
\r\n
\r\n\"Just staying healthy, that's the main thing right now,\" he said. \"My strengths and weaknesses, I don't really know right now because I haven't played [a full year]\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't put any pressure on myself,\" he added. \"I just go out there every night and work hard.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG.

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n .333

\r\n

\r\n 72

\r\n

\r\n 24

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 14

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n .442

\r\n

\r\n .514

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n .000

\r\n

\r\n 2

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n 0

\r\n

\r\n .000

\r\n

\r\n .000


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power: There is virtually no in-season track record of Lutz' to follow, but in limited time and in mini-camps, he has shown the capacity for power and a solid approach to the opposite field. He is very balanced at the plate and lets the ball travel deeper into the strike zone which allows for him to drive the ball the other way. Conversely, he has shown enough bat speed to the pull the ball with home run power. He has a very good eye and sense of the strike zone, knowing how to work at-bats and take walks.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed: Lutz runs with determination and has tremendous base running instincts which helps compensate for the fact that he has only slightly above average speed. When he entered the system, it was believed he could swipe his share of bases, but this upcoming season he will need to assuage fears of about his speed following his recurring foot and ankle injuries.
\r\n
\r\nDefense: His running speed will be a focus this spring, but Lutz relies on his quickness and good first step around the third base bag. Dramatics come few and far between, but he is solid in every aspect of his defense with good instincts, reactions, and aggressiveness. He tops it all off with a very strong arm that could persuade the Mets to try him in the outfield in the near future.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: Lutz' projection is rather difficult with the circulating concerns about his long term health and the possibility they could prevent him from making it all the way. His mature stroke, sound defense, baseball smarts and coach-ability should help expedite his path to the big leagues following two seasons truncated by injury, but he will have to prove through his play that he is deserving of a quick ascension. His skills with the bat and plate discipline give him the tools to be a big leaguer, but a future in an infield/outfield utility role is likely.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2011. Even though he has played in just 25 games over his first two seasons, do not put it past the Mets to have Lutz open 2009 in Savannah to get him on a faster track. Aside from good health, what Lutz needs more than anything is consistent playing time. The South Atlantic League will present its challenges considering how infrequently he saw the field the last two years, but he has the tools to battle in A-ball and put himself on pace to debut in the latter half of the 2011 season.
\r\n
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