#21 - 1B/3B Zach LutzBats/Throws:? Right/Right
Height/Weight:? 6?1?, 220 lbs
#21 - 1B/3B Zach LutzBats/Throws:? Right/Right
Height/Weight:? 6?1?, 220 lbs
den Dekker worked a very patient full count ground out in his first AB against a righty, laying off low breaking pitches.? His AB's against the lefties were not so encouraging? getting his knees buckled on a steady diet of breakers.? He will certainly need to be more competitive against same side pitching for him to see success at AAA, much less on the big league level.?? There was of course this sweet catch which have become spring training regulars from den Dekker.
Wilmer Flores lined up at 3B in today's game which was unfortunate because just about every play went to Justin Turner at 2B.? I think even Justin Turner grounded out to Justin Turner at one point... In the 7th Flores finally saw his first defensive play.? He may have drifted off, or he might be really slow.? On a slow roller he charged and had no play on Brandon Barnes.? After a routine play followed, Flores had another slow roller in the 8th, with men on 1st and 2nd.? On a play that David Wright would have charged to field in front of the runner and sent to second to possibly start a double play, Flores had to play it behind the runner and barely threw out the Astro's catcher Carlos Perez.? After liking what I saw from Flores at 2B earlier in the spring, I came away from today's game wondering if Flores might actually be too slow to even play 3B regularly.
The Buffalo Bisons finished April 2012 in second place in the IL North, at 14-10, 1.5 games behind the Pawtucket Red Sox. The Bisons are second in the IL in bating average and third in OBP, SLG and runs scored as part of a .281/.355/.450 line. ? The Herd's 30 homers are tied for first on the circuit.
Despite ranking near the bottom in the IL in strikeouts (12 of 14), the Bisons are third in the IL in ERA (3.04) because they have allowed the third-fewest hits (185).
Some of this will be excerpts from that post, some will be new-ish.
Lutz OffenseHe's a high strikeout, high walk, high-power, guy off to a great start in AAA this year (.333/.419/.556) supported by an unsustainably high .439 BABIP. All the same, in his 303 career AB in AAA, he's hit .304/.387/.521 with an 11% walk rate, 27% strikeout rate, extra-base hits in 10% of his plate appearances, and a .393 BABIP.
1. Kirk Nieuwenhuis is GoneYeah, Mets fans know this. Andres Torres pulled his calf on Opening Day, Kirk Nieuwenhuis played one game for the Bisons in 2012, and now the 24-year old is doing his part to prove that he's a capable big leaguer by hitting .292/.370/.417 in his first nine big league games and playing solid defense in center. Why this item? Just a simple reminder that the fate of any triple-A team, whether its the Bisons, the Pawtucket Red Sox, or the Sacramento River Cats, is linked closely to the performance and injuries of the team's MLB affiliate.
Lutz been injured regularly, but when he's played, he's hit. Thus far in Buffalo in 2012, he's on an eight-game hitting streak as part of a .323/.382/.581 start in nine games. He's no Adrian Beltre at third, but he's played at the hot corner his whole professional life.
I touched on this possibility issue earlier this week and concluded that Lutz was a better option to man third than Josh Satin or Vinny Rottino. At the time, I was operating under the premise that if the Mets were going to DL Wright, they would not want to move Murphy off of second, consistent with Terry Collins' early spring proclamations that Murphy was his second baseman and the team was not interested in moving him for a temporary absence. Two weeks on the DL counts as temporary. If that was the plan in March, it should the be plan on April 14. A week of baseball is fun to watch, but analytically, nearly useless.
And if that doesn't happen? The people want to know about contingencies.
At the big league level, even coming off the worst season of his professional career, the Mets are set with David Wright. ?I am willing to bet a full paycheck (of mine, not Wright's) that Wright, who from 2006-2008, was one of the very best players in baseball, will be the Mets third baseman to begin 2012. ?I believe that he will Met for Opening Day 2013, too, but after that, it's unclear whether he and the Mets will be right for each other. ?Moving Citi Field's walls in will help him, although by how much is difficult to say. ?For the Mets to be contenders in 2012, Wright would need to turn back the clock four years,?shucking?aside the concussion related problems, and yes, more recently, his broken back.
Secure in the knowledge that thirdbase is occupied, at least for the next year, and likely two, lets take a look at guys who played third base in the minors.
1B Valentino Pascucci (.261/.335/.518) was 1-3 with a homer and a walk. ?The 32-year old Pascucci is tied for the IL lead with 91 RBI. ?I can't believe I just wrote that sentence. I really believe RBI are a nearly worthless gauge of a player's value.
Pat Misch (8-9, 4.14) pitched: 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 5 K. It's a crude metric, but this was the second quality start (6 IP or more, yielding three runs or fewer) for Misch in five tries in August.
2B Jordany Valdespin: 3-3, BB, R . He's hit safely in six straight over which time he's 11-for-24 (.458) with four doubles, a walk and five strikeouts. ?The 23-year old is up to .293/.316/.427 in 18 games in AAA.
Zach Lutz (.302/.388/.514): 1-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 K.
Oof 1: Mark Cohoon (4-9, 6.37): 1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 BB, 2 K, 0 HR
Oof 2: The Bisons committed four errors. 3B Josh Satin committed his sixth in 33 games in AAA, SS Jordany Valdespin his fifth in 16 games in AAA, and Jesus Feliciano and Fernando Perez added one each.
The 23-year old Valdespin, who is hitting .236/.259/.364 in his first 13 games in AAA, was 2-4 with a double and three RBI. ?He drove home one run on a sac fly when Fernando Perez scored from second base. ?Valdespin has five extra base hits in his 13 games in AAA, four doubles and a homer, but has drawn just two walks and fanned 11 times.
Zach Lutz (2-3, HR(10), 3RBI) homered for the fifth time in his last 12 games, leading the Bisons to a 10-2 rout over Columbus. ?Lutz pushes his season totals to .312/.398/.534, with 10 HR and 27 RBI (53 games).
When healthy and in the lineup, Lutz has hit at every level, but like a couple of other unnamed Mets prospects he just has to find a way to stay on the field.
Val Pascucci (2-5, HR(19), 2 RBI) hit a two-run walk off home run in the bottom of the 11th to send a crowd of 16,447 home jumping for joy.
Pascucci on his HR (via Buffalo News):
Those comeback Bisons scores four times in the bottom of the eighth to pull out the win.
Zach Lutz (.304/.389/.500) was 1-2 with a bomb and two walks. When he's healthy he hits, and it appears he's both healthy and hitting now with two homers and a double in his last four games.
SS Jordany Valdespin drove home the tying run in the eight and Zach Lutz "smoked" a ball into center field according to manager Tim Teufel for a double in the ninth for the game winner. ?The 25-year old Lutz is now hitting .307/.384/.490 in 43 games this year in his first real go-round at AAA.
Josh Satin, playing first base, was 1-4 with a double to run his AAA hitting streak to 13 games. The 26-year old is hitting .412 (21-51) over his streak, which is the second-longest active streak in the International League.
Saturday, Zach Lutz was activated from the disabled list. The Bisons also swapped catchers by adding Mike Nickeas, who was returned from the Mets (displaced by Nick Evans) and sending Dusty Ryan back down to AA Binghamton. Lutz was 1-3 in his return to Buffalo.
Short night for 3B Zach Lutz. ?According to Adam Rubin, he was hit in the head during his first at bat in the first inning. ?He stayed in the ballgame, handling two chances in the second inning and then grounded out for the first out in the top of the third. ?He was replaced by Michael Fisher in the bottom of the third inning.
Lutz missed 10 days at the end of June with post-concussion symptoms so it only makes sense to be careful. ?Still, this is getting crazy. ?The 25-year old is hitting .313/.391/.493 in 38 games for Buffalo in a season in which he's already been sidelined by a bum hamstring, a broken finger and a concussion. ?He's played 100 games in a season just once as a professional since 2007, and he's not going to get there again in 2011.
Part 4 on players ranked 21-25 is here. ?Part 3 on players ranked 26-30 is?here. ?Part 2 on players originally ranked 31-36 is?here.?Part 1 on players originally ranked 36-41 is?here. ??Each player?s name links back to his original scouting report from before the 2011 season.
Five Bisons collected multi-hit nights. Yes Nick Evans (3-5, RBI) was one of the five.
The Bisons finished a four-game sweep of the Norfolk Tides behind a nice night from Mark Cohoon. ?Actually, it was Cohoon's best start in AAA: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 K. ?I watched a the last few innings of Cohoon's start and for the most part he looked "on." ?In the innings I saw, the changeup and curveball were working for him, but he was having a little trouble locating his fastball.
3B Zach Lutz (.337/.421/.542 in 24 games) homered for the second straight game. ?He just turned 25, and he's hit .364/.440/.568 in 11 games in June since his return from the disabled list. ?In related news, Justin Turner, who's hitting .203/.307/.297 in June is down to .275/.343/.388 overall. ?Turner (pictured), who is supposed to be the better defender and has been a great story, but Lutz has been killing the ball. ?There's no reason to make a move yet, but it sure would be nice to get Lutz some big league at bats this year.
2B Michael Fisher (.286/.360/.415) was 2-5 to run his hitting streak to 15-straight games, which is nice.
Dylan Owen allowed just two runs over six innings of work, while the Bisons offense could only muster one run on the night. Owen (6 IP, 6 hits, 2 er, 2 bb, 5 k, HR) falls to 2-4 on the season, as the only runs he allowed were on a two-run home run to Durham's Desmond Jennings in the third inning.
For the first time since July 5, 2009, when he was a member of the St. Lucie Mets, Zach Lutz (.322/.403/.492) played first base in a professional baseball game. ?Lutz was 2-3 with a double and a walk at the plate. ?Lutz played 14 games at first for St. Lucie in 2009 mostly while Hector Pellot or Greg Veloz manned the hot corner.
The move to first is interesting for Lutz because it seems to point a way onto the big league roster as a corner infield reserve who can supply power from the right side. ?In fact, Lutz is the only right-handed hitter on the Mets' 40-man roster who also plays first base. ?The Mets recently designated Nick Evans, who cleared waivers and accepted an assignment to Buffalo, so he's no longer on the 40-man.
It was Star Wars night in Buffalo. ?Outside of the originals, I'm not fan of the series, but the jerseys were awesome, and it's a very, very well done promotion reflected in the 13,582 attendance the Bisons posted.
From the game:
Saturday, the Bisons placed 3B Zach Lutz on the DL, with - wait for it - a right hamstring strain.? In 13 games this year, Lutz was hitting .308/.400/.513 with five doubles, a homer, six walks and 10 strikeouts.? He's always hit when he's been healthy, but he's had trouble staying healthy.
We'll start at the top with Buffalo.
LF Lucas Duda just keeps killing the ball.? Tuesday, he was 2-4 with a home run and a walk.? He's hitting .321/.391/.663 with 15 home runs in 49 games in AAA and .304/.401/.588 with 31 doubles and 21 HR in 94 games between AA and AAA this year.? Coming into this year, he had hit 24 home runs total in his first 2.5 years as a professional.? He's walked 49 times and fanned 63.? With a strikeout rate that low, it's easier to see him making the jump to hitting MLB pitching.? Duda is demolishing right-handed pitching at a .364/.433/.754 rate in AAA.? It's getting about time to see what Duda could do in the big leagues.
1B Nick Evans (.302/.375/.488) was 2-5 with a double, his fifth in 11 games and two strikeouts.
Good first: Zach Lutz (.297/.417/.645) was 2-4 with a pair of home runs.? That's seven homers in seven games since returning from a broken foot for the 24-year old.? In his seven games since his return, he's up to .448 (13-for-29) with three doubles, seven jacks, four walks and five strikeouts for a triple slash line of .448/.515/1.276.? That's just ridiculous.? Seriously, he was coming back from a broken foot.
Michael Antonini (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) had a nice start sqandered by the 'pen.? If you want to be optimistic about Antonini, you point out that he has a 4.1 K/BB (106/26) ratio at AA.? If you want to be a pessimist, you'll point out that he'll be 25 on Friday.? Happy Birthday, and all that, in case we forget.
In his third game back with Buffalo, 3B/1B Nick Evans drove home the winning run in the bottom of the tenth inning as part of a 3-5 night that included a double.
After a nasty slump, RF Fernando Martinez (.254/.312/.454) homered while going 1-2 with a walk to extend his hitting streak to five games.? You want something positive on the 21-year old Martinez? He has a .559 slugging percentage in 17 games since the AAA All-Star Break.
Dillon Gee's (9-7, 4.92) up-up-and-down-down season continued with a "down" on Wednesday night: 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, HR, 3 BB, 3 K.? He's now given up 10 runs on 19 (!) hits in his last nine innings of work.? Gee's been good for a few starts in a row, and then too hittable for a few starts in a row all year long.
Lucas Duda's three-run home run in the first inning gave the Bisons the early jump to snap their six-game losing streak.? Duda was 2-4 as the DH and is now hitting .298/.396/.583 with 28 doubles and 18 home runs combined between AA and AAA.? Coming into this year, Duda had 24 jacks over his previous three seasons.
Bobby Livingston walked five in his four innings of work, but the Bisons bullpen held the Clippers to one run over the final five innings.? Brian Bruney (0 H, 0 BB, 0 K) and Ryota Igarashi (1 H, 1 BB, 1 K) each tossed a scoreless inning.
Lutz is BackAfter five games in the GCL, Zach Lutz moved up to St. Lucie with an 0-4 Sunday in his return from his left foot fracture, which has put him on the shelf since May 25.? Technically, he was activated off the Binghamton DL and then transferred to St. Lucie, so he now counts against St. Lucie's active 25 man roster.? Lutz, you might recall, hit a beastly .307/.447/.600 with six home runs, 17 walks and 21 strikeouts in 21 games in April before suffering through a .196/.317/.353 with 2 home runs 7 walks and 15 strikeouts in 14 games in May.? Overall, he was bopping along at a .262/.396/.500 rate.
The Cyclones continue to pound the baseball.? Brooklyn (24-11) racked up 12 runs and 15 hits, to extend their home winning streak to 10 games.? The win gives the Cyclones a 16-2 record at home this season.? Every starter had at least one hit, and seven of the nine starters had an RBI. The Cyclones are averaging a NYPL high 5.8 runs per game.? Hitting stars include:
Rylan Sandoval (2-3, HR, RBI, SB), Darrell Ceciliani (2-5, 2B, 3B, RBI), Cory Vaughn (1-3, 2RBI, 2BB, K), Jeff Flagg (2-4, 2B, 3B, 3RBI), Joe Bonfe (2-5, 2B, RBI), Brian Harrison (2-4, RBI), and J.B. Brown (2-4, 2B, 2RBI).
A Cory Vaughn sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth broke a 4-4 tie, and lifted Brooklyn (22-11) to the 5-4 victory over Lowell.
Hitting stars of the game:
Good pitching and good hitting is a great combination. A.J. Pinera (pictured) was very good once again.? Pinera pitched six shutout innings, giving up only two hits and striking out five.? Pinera, the Mets 2010 18th round pick, now has a 13 inning scoreless streak.
Offensive stars include: Luis Nieves (2-5, 2B), Darrell Ceciliani (3-5, 2RBI now hitting .395/.448/.544), Cory Vaughn (2-5), Jeff Flagg (2-4, HR, RBI), Joe Bonfe (1-3, RBI), Brian Harrison (2-4, 2B), and J.B. Brown (2-4, 2B, HR, 2RBI).
What Happened: The Mets skipped the 21-year old Lucas, coming off a good year in Kingsport, and a so-so few weeks in the NYP, over Savannah (where Jefry Marte was holding down the hot corner) to St. Lucie, where's he's struggled.? He just hasn't made enough contact in the FSL.? However, his ten home runs are good enough for fifth in the League, so he?s hit for some power.? Now, can he make more contact in the second half?
ALL STATS IN TABLES CURRENT AS OF JULY 1, 2009.
AA: When Fernando Nieve went up to Buffalo to walk the ballpark, the B-Mets activated LHP Adam Bostick (elbow) from the DL.
A+: Zach Lutz has been added to the St. Lucie roster from Brooklyn, while the Mets have stashed RHP Matias Carillo on the Cyclones roster.? Lutz (.255/.333/.400 in 55 AB) has not played since April 26th.? Originally, he was diagnosed with a stomach ailment while the time off also afforded him the opportunity to rest a foot problem.? I expected him back sooner, but getting him on the field is more important.? He does need to show that he can stay healthy.