From BR Bullpen
Donald Thomas Lutz
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 230 lb.
 Biographical Information
Donald Lutz made his major league debut in 2013, becoming the first big leaguer raised in Germany.
He is the brother of Sascha Lutz. He is a dual citizen of the USA and Germany; his father is American and his mother is German. Born in the United States, he moved to Germany at age 1 due to his parents' divorce. He played ice hockey and handball in his youth and only began playing baseball at age 14. He debuted with the German national team in 2008 and signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a minor league prospect. The scout was Jim Stoeckel.
In 2006 and 2007, he attended the Major League Baseball European Academy. Lutz was 0 for 12 with two walks in Bundesliga's first division in 2007, playing for the Regensburg Legionäre. In the second division, he led with a .506 average, drove in 39 runs and hit six home runs in 24 games. He went 1 for 14 with five whiffs in the 2007 European Junior Championship. He was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in the fall of 2007. Lutz was added to the German national team for the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. He hit .250/.318/.400 as one of their three top hitters (along with his brother); he tied for the team lead in both runs (2) and RBI (2) while playing primarily right field. He singled in Dominik Wulf with the winning run against South Africa. He hit a solo homer off of Min-han Son for Germany's only run against South Korea.
Lutz made his US debut on June 20th, singling in his only at-bat against the GCL Red Sox. He started his stateside career 5 for 9. He hit .250/.317/.361 for the season, posting an OPS about league average. He played primarily 1B and DH though he saw a little time in left field.
In the 2008 European Under-21 championship, Lutz made the All-Star outfield, hitting .320/.346/.320. Donald started 2009 slowly for the GCL Reds, batting .169/.246/.305 before breaking his wrist in late July, ending his season. He missed the 2009 Baseball World Cup as well. He hit .286/.356/.478 with 7 home runs and 36 runs in 55 games for the 2010 Billings Mustangs. He played for the Canberra Cavalry in the 2010-2011 Australian Baseball League and produced at a .260/.312/.520 clip with 5 HR, 21 RBI and a league-best three triples in 29 contests.
Lutz continuing to make strides in 2011, hitting .301/.358/.492 with 20 home runs and 85 runs for the Dayton Dragons. He became the first Dragon to hit for the cycle, doing so on July 21. He was among the Midwest League leaders in average (7th, between Zach Walters and Rubi Silva), slugging (9th, between Jake Marisnick and Walters), home runs (tied for 4th), runs (tied for 3rd) and total bases (tied for 4th with Marisnick). Among Reds farmhands, he tied for second in runs (behind Billy Hamilton), tied for second in home runs (11 behind Neftali Soto), was 6th in RBI and tied for third in total bases. Jesus Aguilar was named the league All-Star 1B.
In the 2011 Baseball World Cup, Lutz and fellow US minor leaguer Max Kepler-Rozycki led the attack, Lutz hitting .348/.407/.739. His 8 RBI in 7 games easily led the team (no one else had more than 3), he had three of their four homers (Kepler had the other one) and he tied Kepler for the top average. His long balls came off Nicaragua's Berman Espinosa, Cuba's Miguel Alfredo González and Australia's Hayden Beard. He was 5th in the event in slugging heading into the finals, between Frederich Cepeda and Bryan Engelhardt. He tied Tommy Mendonca, Matt Clark, Fernando Seguignol, Curt Smith and Jose Dariel Abreu for second in home runs, two behind leader Willie Vasquez.
Lutz missed part of 2012 due to an oblique injury but did well when healthy, hitting .265/.325/.561 with 17 homers and 51 runs in 63 games for the Bakersfield Blaze, going 9 for 14 with two doubles, two triples and three walks in a four-game rehab stint with the AZL Reds and batting .242/.315/.389 in 40 games for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The slugging first baseman had the most home runs (22) of a Reds farmhand, led in slugging and was third in RBI (71). Baseball America named him the Reds' best power prospect. At years' end, he hit .395 in 11 games for the Peoria Javelinas and won a Arizona Fall League Player of the Week award.
In the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers (played in September 2012), he started at first for Germany and went 4 for 13 with a double (off James Avery), walk, four runs and two RBI, though he also made a couple of errors. He tied for third on the team in runs, one shy of American imports Aaron Altherr and Eric Suttle. Germany finished second in their pool behind Team Canada. He began the summer of 2013 back with Pensacola and was at .211/.294/.513 with 5 home runs after 21 games. He was then called up to the majors when Chris Heisey went on the disabled list. He made his major league debut on April 29th, pinch-hitting for Mat Latos in the 7th inning of a game against the St. Louis Cardinals; he grounded out to second baseman Matt Carpenter to end the inning. He was the second graduate of the MLB European Academy to make the majors, following Italian Alex Liddi. His first hit in the majors came off Shawn Camp on May 5th. He hit his first big league homer on May 12th, connecting with two men on board against Wily Peralta of the Milwaukee Brewers in a 5-1 Reds win.