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.