Recently I was able to sit down with Mets minor league third baseman Zach Lutz. Despite continued injury concerns, the 24-year old '07 fifth rounder had a very strong year in 2010 batting .287/.380/.571. He demonstrated a tremendous power stroke hitting 18 home runs in just under 250 ab's between Binghamton and Buffalo; that's an ISO of .290 at the highest levels of the minors. Lutz was played on the Mets 40-man roster this winter and came in at #9 in the 2011 AA Prospect Rankings.
Lutz and I spoke about overcoming injuries, playing in college for his dad, expectations for 2011 and more. Click on the 'Play' button below to listen in!
Click past the break for the full transcript of our chat.
Rob: So we're just coming off the first intra-squad game and you had a nice showing -- you made a real nice play at third base; how'd it feel to get out there today?
Lutz: Yeah, it felt great. You know, I felt kind of sluggish at the plate and everything, timing felt off. But I feel good playing third base, feet feel good so I'm looking forward to the season.
Rob: How's camp been treating you so far?
Lutz: Oh real good. All the guys, we get along here real good. And it makes it a lot of fun coming to the ballpark every day.
Rob: All right well I wanted to look back at your 2010 a little bit. You had a big year, you had probably your biggest season at the plate, you hit for a whole bunch of power but, like it's happened a little bit in the past for you, you ended up missing some time. But indicated to me before that you're feeling 100% healthy, you're feeling good coming into the season; do you think the injury stuff is behind you?
Lutz: Yeah, that's what I'm hoping. You know, it's been four years now with the same injuries going on and on and I'm just hoping I'm past that now. I feel great, I'm trying to put all that behind me and just move on and stay on the field.
Rob: You ended up reaching Buffalo last year for a short time. And so I wouldn't quite say that you're on the doorstep yet but you're right there, you're getting pretty close to the majors. Does that make this year any different coming into the spring?
Lutz: No, I mean I worked out all offseason real hard. I was working out with dad's college team indoors because up in the northeast we got so much snow. So the only thing you can really do is work out indoors, take ground balls off the gym floor, hit in the batting cages. But I feel like I'm ready to go. And getting put on the 40-man roster in the offseason was a big step for me and I'm just looking to take advantage of that.
Rob: You hit on something; I was able to talk to you during the winter time as well as your dad. And it sounded like he's a big advocate for you, it sounds like he's a big supporter and he's been a big help for you. What has it been like having a dad who's a college coach, obviously he knows his way around the game, what's that been like for you coming up?
Lutz: It's been probably the best thing for me. I could have went to other schools, like we talked about earlier but I wanted to go play for my dad because he knows everything about my swing. Whenever I have trouble swinging the bat during the season here I just call him up and it seems like he knows exactly what I'm doing wrong without even being at the ballpark. So he's always been there for me.
Rob: Nice, you've got your own personal coach. (laughs)
Lutz: Yeah, basically.
Rob: Coming into 2011 just wanted to know if you had any expectations or goals that you're setting for yourself coming into the season?
Lutz: Probably the main goal is to stay on the field for one full season, you know what I mean? I haven't played a full season since college. It's been an up-and-down journey so far but I'm just healthy and looking forward to the season starting.