Donald Lutz is headed to the big leagues. The Cincinnati Reds announced today that the 24-year-old Lutz has been called up from the Double-A affiliate Pensacola Blue Wahoos to replace outfielder Chris Heisey, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained hamstring.
The well-deserved promotion to the show is a dream come true for Lutz. After being born in Watertown, NY, Lutz moved to Germany when he was one and has lived there his entire life. His goal since he began playing baseball at the relatively late age of 15 was to become the first German to ever play in the majors and he has done just that.
Lutz played for his country this past offseason in the World Baseball Classic qualifier. In four games for Germany, he hit .308 (4-13) with a double, two RBI and four runs scored.
The Reds signed the power-hitting Lutz in July of 2007 as a non-drafted free agent after seeing him at an invitation-only showcase in Italy. Now in his sixth year in the Cincinnati organization, Lutz becomes just the third player in Blue Wahoos history to make the jump straight from Pensacola to the show (Logan Ondrusek earlier this season and Tony Cingrani last September). He’ll become the ninth Blue Wahoo to play in the big leagues and the first from this year’s squad.
Lutz is rated as the best power hitter in the Reds system by Baseball America and the 18th best prospect in the organization. Pensacola fans saw the pure power from the outfielder as he leaves the Blue Wahoos with five home runs in 21 games, which is tied for the Southern League lead.
He had his breakout season in 2011 with Low-A Dayton when he posted career highs in average (.301), homers (20), RBI (75) en route to being placed on the Reds 40-man roster after that season.
Overall in 61 games with Pensacola between this season and last, Lutz hit .231 with 10 HR, 29 RBI, and 30 runs scored.