For those who have not seen much of Donald Lutz, I thought I would provide a scouting report.
Overview: Born in New York but grew up in Germany and has limited baseball background...signed by Reds after playing in what amounted to a showcase event in Italy featuring the top players from Europe...has played left field and first base...served primarily as Dayton DH in first half of 2011 with spot time at first behind Dominic D'Anna...took over as everyday first baseman when D'Anna suffered a wrist injury in July...Finished the season at .301-20-75 with a .492 slg. pct...became just the second player in Dayton history to hit .300 with 20+ HR's (Austin Kearns was the other)...Reds protected him on 40 man roster entering 2012.
Strengths: Improving more rapidly than virtually anyone else on the field...big, athletic player with excellent raw power...listed at 6'3", 234 and moves well for a player of that size...first half numbers were mediocre (.257-9-24, 75 SO in 218 AB) but he just kept getting better and better as he gained experience...in the second half, he hit .340-11-51 and cut his strikeouts dramatically to 50 in 247 AB...clearly the most dangerous hitter on the Dayton team by the end of the season and it was obvious in the playoffs that he was being pitched around...showed a flair for the dramatic...in one game, he hit a game-tying HR in the bottom of the 8th and then hit a walk-off homer his next time up in the 10th...in another game, hit for the cycle over his first four plate appearances in reverse order (HR, 3B, 2B, 1B)...tied the club record for multi-homer games with three...showed massive improvement at first base, going from a total liability to an acceptable glove who could use his athletically ability to make some very nice plays on the move...extremely popular player with his teammates due to outgoing but down-to-earth nature...very hard worker...solid character.
Weaknesses: Somewhat of a one-hit wonder until he can show that 2011 was no fluke...some scouts have commented that he does not have a prototypical big league swing at the plate...while he improved dramatically defensively at first base, still has a ways to go to become a player that a big league manager would trust to have in the field...smart kid, but does not yet have quite the feel for the game as you would like due to inexperience.
Outlook: Under the radar player who had a breakout season in 2011 and bears watching in '12...Seems to be making up for lost time in terms of experience and could have a very high ceiling if he keeps improving.