Following our review of right-handed pitcher Victor Castaneda, next, up on our review of how the Brewers’ top prospects fared in either their return to baseball after the canceled season due to COVID-19 or their first professional baseball season, we have our first draft pick that we analyze,
Our next prospect is the Brewers’ first-round pick, 34th overall, from the 2017 June Amateur Draft, Tristen Lutz. Lutz was selected as an outfielder straight out of James W. Martin High School in Arlington, Texas.
Here is our review of the 2021 season for the Brewers’ 2017 first-round pick, outfielder Tristen Lutz.
Brewers Prospect Review: OF Tristen Lutz, 23
The 6’2″, 210-pound, highly anticipated first-round pick out of the 2017 June Amateur Draft, Tristen Lutz, received a signing bonus of $2.35 million, and when he began his first season of professional baseball, he was earning every penny of it.
He spent his first professional baseball season split between the Helena Brewers and the AZL Brewers. Combined between both squads, he was knocking the cover off the ball, hitting an insane .311/.398/.559, smashing nine home runs and accumulating 50 hits in 161 at-bats.
Lutz would follow up his eye-opening first season, with the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, where he played a full season, appearing in 119 games. He hit .246/.321/.421 in his time with the Timber Rattlers, also hitting 13 home runs and driving in 63.
In 2019, he was promoted to the Carolina Mudcats, who at the time was the club’s High-A club. There he had a much better season, hitting a nice .255/.335/.419 across 112 games. During that time he smashed 13 home runs again, tying the amount hit from a year ago. His stat lines were very similar to his a year previously and he did it all in fewer games. Lutz dealt with an injury that would sideline him for the final few weeks of the regular season as he suffered a right triceps strain.
After the COVID-19 pandemic denied him from a 2020 baseball season, the year 2021 started out great for him. The Brewers invited him to his first spring training where he would soon be assigned a spot on the Double-A Biloxi Shuckers.
Lutz’s time with the Shuckers was short spent as he suffered a fractured hand caused by a hit-by-pitch. In the 64 games that the 23-year-old had appeared in, he started out hot and then became cold, as he hit a career-low, .217/.291/.363. He had 12 doubles as well to go along with seven home runs and could’ve done a lot more damage if not for the hand injury, which can impact hitters even after they return from the IL.
As a first-round draft pick, there’s a lot of pressure, especially coming out of high school, and if that already wasn’t enough the pressure for him to bounce back from his hand injury this season is huge.
According to his profile at MLB.com,
"“Lutz gets the most out of his average speed, running the bases well and showing better-than-expected range in center field…His right-handed power is his calling card and he can get to it during games, though he remains pull-heavy. He has some of the biggest power in the entire system, and there is, even more, to access if Lutz learns to cover the outer half of the plate and cleans up some mechanical issues in his swing.”"
With the Brewers already having a cluttered outfield, and a lot more talented prospects on the upcoming, I can see Lutz being used as a mid-season piece for a trade. Regardless, this is a big season for Lutz to prove his prospect status and show why he was taken with such a high draft pick in 2017.
He’s projected to join the club in 2023, and with the Brewers outfield prospects Garrett Mitchell, Sal Frelick, Joe Gray Jr., and Hedbert Perez all bound to be knocking at the door here in a couple of years, it’ll be interesting to see where exactly he’ll fit in with the future of the Brewers.