Q&A - Zach Lutz

The Behaviorist has left a new comment on your post "The Mack Report – ROY, Prospects #26-30":

Hey Mack, help me out here, please?

I just read everything you wrote on Lutz, and I have to agree with you, based strictly on the numbers, the guy either has serious problems fielding, or has three legs, 1 arm, and is a cyclops because there's no way a guy hitting like that would NOT be given a chance at 2b. Sure, you have to have a bit more range at 2b, but Lutz, should he continue to hit like he has been, would easily make up for any lack in range at 2b if he could hit anywhere NEAR his minor league numbers (basically, I'm saying if he can muster an .850-.900 OPS year after year and plays even a marginal 2b, he'll be far better than the platoon project the Mets will most likely start with this year, but none of that is what shocks me. What shocks me is, WHY IN THE WORLD!! is this guy considered our 27th best prospect. Do we SERIOUSLY have 26 better prospects in the minors? Because if we do, the Mets farm system must be seriously loaded!! Guys who can both hit for power AND take a BB just aren't all that common, and it appears Lutz can do both. So, what's your take?

Mack:  Thanks for the question.

First of all, my rankings are as subjective as yours or anyone else.

I first look at a chart I have made of all the players in the system. I have them broken down by position, and by proposed team they will be assigned to in 2011.

I look over the entire chart and determine the top 10 prospects, using the knowledge I have accumulated. I take these ten names and then rank them.

I do this same proscess for the next group, which isn't determined first by numbering. I make a list of the remaining players I think have a future in the major leagues as a starter.  Once again, I then rank them and add them to my Keepers list.

The last ranking got the list to # 13 using this system, meaning, at the time I created this list, I thought there were only 13 Mets players that would some day play in the majors on a regular basis (that's since changed and the list will be updated by Sunday... example: Cesar Puello, ranked 19th, should definitely be in the top 10).

After that, tools and ceiling take over... the five tools are: hitting for average, hitting for power, baserunning skills, throwing ability, and fielding ability.

Lutz has proven to be a successful high-level minor league hitter. He only has had two full seasons as a Mets (due to injuries), but both produced healthy numbers... an .822 OPS in 2009 for St. Lucie, and a .967 OPS for Binghamton in 2010.

Slugging wise, a .441 in 2009 was decent, but a .578 in 2010 was huge. It included 17 home runs and 42-RBIs in 225 at bats, but Nick Evans had 17-HRs and 55-RBIs for the same 2010 B-Mets  (.557 slugging and .942 OPS) and no one says he's a lock to be a successful majorleaguer.

Yes, 17-HRs at AA is better than 16-HRs... and I have absolutely no problem giving him a 2-tool rating for both hitting for average and power, but that's about it for positive tools ratings.

His defense at third base is good at best and has always been rated below average. There are 30 people in the world that start at third base. None are defensively below average.

His arm is also nothing to write about, though it has got the basic job done at the levels he has played.

In addition, Lutz has had a hard time staying healthy. He had a broken foot on opening night in 2007, a back strain, a quad injury, and an ankle injury in 2008, 2009 wasn't much luckier with a month off for food poisoning, and he fractured his left foot in 2010. He was slow before these injuries, but now he's close to Rube Walker slow.

A Mets official told me "look, Lutz will never make fans forget about David Wright, and, at this point, he's even tough trade bait, what with all the dings. Absolutely horrible feet."

Can he make it as a UT?  Well, not when you play only third base.

Look, I have been wrong many times about a lot of so-called prospects... Hector Pellot and Juan Lagares come to mind... there is always a lot of hype coming out of either high school, college, or the international press. The first thing Mr. Lutz has to do is own AAA. Team wise, the only prospect competition he has is Aderlin Rodriquez who also has bad projections as a third baseman in the majors.

The Mets can't simply play everyone on second base and they already have decided who those candidates are. Lutz could easily remain in Buffalo for the next two years. His plate discipline is excellent, so he will never be compared to Mike Hessman, but I just don't see him as a full time third baseman for the New York Mets.

Come on Zach... prove me wrong.


Mack's Mets © 2012