What’s Going To Happen To Zach Lutz?

By Former Writers

November 23, 2013 3 Comments

When MLB.com covered the Mets MiLB performers at each position, they decided that Zach Lutz had the best season at third base. Lutz is certainly a curious case — he was hampered by injuries throughout most of his minor league career, but he posted solid numbers when healthy.  Here’s what Robert Emrich wrote about him:

 A fifth-round pick by the Mets in 2007, Lutz has been one of the steadiest contributors in the system, never posting an OPS lower than .800 or having an average below .278 over the course of a season. This season was no exception as the Pennsylvania native hit .293, slugged 13 homers, drove in 80 runs and posted an .856 OPS for the 51s.

“He’s always hit, he had a couple of years where he battled some freak injuries,” DePodesta said. “This year he was healthy, spent some time in the Majors. He’s dangerous, hits the ball very hard, has a good strike zone. He’s improved defensively, played some at first and some in the outfield to improve his versatility.”

Now, Lutz cracked the MLB roster and managed to play 15 games with the Mets this year. In 2012, he had only 11 at-bats with the Mets, and went 1-for-11. He looked better in his short sample size in 2013, going 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles and six walks. Lutz is now 27, but has a solid minor league track record, including a 2010 season where he slugged 19 home runs and 19 doubles in just 306 at-bats. Lutz is a natural third baseman, but has played first base and even some outfield to keep himself in the lineup. He was holding his own in Las Vegas last year, so it really makes you wonder why he isn’t thrown into the discussion at first base every now and then.

I think Lutz is somewhat of an unknown commodity at this point. Although he doesn’t carry the appeal of a mega-prospect, he was a model of consistency in the minors, and that’s what we need at first base right now — consistency. There are better options out there, but I wouldn’t be that upset if the Mets gave Lutz an extended audition at first base next season.

  • William Li

    I don’t think the FO is even thinking about Lutz as a potential answer at 1B. If you had a lineup like the Dodgers or Angels, you can give a fringe player a chance but the Mets are below average in too many positions to attempt that in NYC.

    However, I am always curious to know why teams don’t give guys like Lutz and Eric Campbell a chance as bench players. What is the advantage of stashing them in AAA? If Lutz and Campbell hits .325 and rips 25 HRs in AAA this year, they will still be deemed too old to seriously be considered for a starting position. Their only value would be to contribute to the major league team as an inexpensive part.

    The one guy who is in a similar mold that has a strong chance of sticking in the majors is Josh Satin due to his ability to play 2B in addition to the corner IF positions.

  • Yazzy

    I like that Lutz has some potential to play the outfield but does he really have a feel for it? Why not just put Lutz in a corner outfield position? If I was in charge of the front office I would have also had Josh Satin, Wilmer Flores and the 2nd baseman in the minors that the Mets were once very high on ( I have forgotten his name) also in winter ball in an outfield corner spot to see if any of them can handle it? I don’t know why SA signed Chris Young when he could have signed Grady Sizemore who was an All Star many times over, and had speed, range and a good arm. Instead of Sizemore we signed Young who has had a career line nowhere near Sizemore’s. Yes, Sizemore has been often injured but he would have been a worthy chance if he was signed to an incentive based contract. Grady is also 29 so there is a chance that he might recover for all of the injuries he had because he is still young enough.

  • Geoff

    Despite Paul D’s analysis, Lutz was a high strike out guy up until last year, & he also pops up a lot. He also looked slow and sloppy at 3B last year in spring training leaving 1B as the only place for him, really. But Turner and Satin were already ahead of him on the depth chart, anyway.
    Plus, the Mets still have options on Lutz. Satin is a year older, hits more consistently, plays better defense at both positions and is out of (or almost out of) options, so he’s going to get first crack at that job opening.
    Now that Turner is gone, I suspect it ill be a competition between Satin and Lutz for a chance to platoon at 1B and back-up Wright at third, but Satin has a big edge for the reasons I’ve mentioned.
    My guess is that Satin gets the job, & Lutz becomes the guy who rides the shuttle back and forth to AAA when players get injured. If Satin flubs, Lutz steps into that role and Campbell becomes the next one on the list.
    Campbell’s ability to play the OF (as well as 3B) potentially gives him an edge over the other 2 if there is a squeeze for roster space, but he will have to be more impressive in spring training due his having had no major league exposure whatsoever and all of his options still remaining.