Lutz Has Pedigree For Success

Lutz Has Pedigree For Success

Inside Pitch followed up with Lutz after draft day to gather his impressions on his selection to the Mets. Now, with the NY-Penn League season underway, Inside Pitch caught up with Lutz to further discuss how he envisions his future in the system.

Growing up in Pennsylvania, only a few miles away from where the Reading Phillies play their home games, one would expect Cyclones third baseman Zach Lutz to be a hardcore Phillies fan, dreaming of one day taking the field with stars like Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. However, with some help from his father, Alvernia College baseball coach Yogi Lutz, the 22-year old has been a life-long Mets fan, waiting to one day don the blue and orange.

"I'm not a Phillies fan at all," said Lutz, with a laugh. "My mom and dad are huge Mets fans and I watched them growing up all the time. The thing I like the most about the organization is the fact that they have so many great players that you can learn so much from just watching. Guys like Tom Glavine, who give their all every time they're on the field really make me happy to be here and being able to say that I'm a part of this organization is a dream come true for me."

Being drafted by the Mets in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, Lutz's dream has come true, but unlike many young players, who rely on raw talent to reach the big leagues and must change their work ethic in order to be successful at the major league level, Lutz has been playing with players his senior for his entire life and boasts an unrivaled work ethic.

Under his father's guidance, Lutz knew at a young age what he needed to do in order to make it to the pros. He never embraced the short-term pleasantries of hanging out with friends and causing trouble as a teenager. He turned himself into a baseball machine that gives his all on the field at all times. Strangely enough, Lutz considers his work ethic a weakness at times and feels that he needs to settle down from time to time.

"One weakness I have is probably working out too much. Sometimes, I get a bit fatigued out there, because I'm always working hard," said Lutz, who hit .467 in his last season with the Crusaders before being drafted by the Mets. "After a good game [in college], I'd come home and hit more, when I should have been resting.

"I think in a way that it's one of my strength's as well, because I know I put everything I have into this game and that I'm truly dedicated. Growing up, when everyone was out hanging out and having a good time, I was always home, working on my game. I know now that I have to continue to work hard, but I noticed at times this season that I was fatigued, so I have to be careful."

A testament to his dedication and work ethic, Lutz knows that he probably won't be able to play third base at Shea Stadium or Citi-Bank Park when he gets to the majors. Considering the dominance and magnetism of Mets third baseman David Wright, he feels he can be effective almost anywhere the organization puts him on the field.

"I played first and second base a lot in college, usually to save my arm after I pitched on occasion, so I really don't have a problem playing anywhere else," said Lutz, who is the highest drafted Cyclone on the roster. "David Wright and Jose Reyes are great players and you learn so much just from watching them, so I don't think it would matter what position I played, as long as I could be around guys like them."

With that kind of team-first attitude, Lutz has the potential to be a coach's dream and a great influence on his teammates wherever he goes in the organization. As a matter of fact, Lutz doesn't even see a problem playing in front of 8,000 screaming fans. Brooklyn offers a stark difference from the small attendances he played in front of in college. Then, crowds never exceeded more than 400 people per game.

"I don't think there's going to be a big difference. All I have to do is stay focused and play my game because that's what baseball is really all about. My scout Scott Hunter coached here last season and he told me how great it was, how the crowd was always into every game. It's crazy to see this many fans around here and I'm definitely reading for the challenge."

Making his first appearance at Keyspan this past Saturday at the team's first official practice, Lutz looked comfortable both on the field and in the batting cage. He made solid contact throughout batting practice and showed a combination of a cannon of an arm, excellent range and footwork. Looking like a seasoned vet after only a few minutes on the field and quickly attracting the attention of the fans on the field, Lutz knows that this is just the beginning of what could hopefully be a long and successful career. He doesn't plan to stop working any time soon.

"I plan on working hard everyday and giving my all and doing whatever I can to help any team in the organization that I'm playing for win," said Lutz. "I love to be out there competing and I'm going to be giving my teammates and the fans nothing but 100 %."

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