David Wright is leaving the New York Mets’ spring training facilities this weekend as the World Baseball Classic is approaching. As Wright represents America as the team’s third baseman, New York prospect Zach Lutz will get a chance to start at third base in the Grapefruit League for the next few weeks.
Mets manager Terry Collins said at the beginning of spring training that he would experiment with using Lutz in the outfield. He has worked with the team’s outfield coach Tom Goodwin during camp, but has never played a game in the outfield. Wright’s absence will delay Lutz’s outfield development, which will hurt his chances to make the Opening Day roster.
Lucas Duda, Marlon Byrd, Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Collin Cowgill are poised play the majority of innings in the outfield this season. When Wright returns to the team, Lutz may get his chance to play the outfield. Wright signed an eight-year extension with the team and will be the team’s third baseman as long as he is healthy, which is clear. What is also clear is that the Mets believe Lutz has MLB talent and are willing to change his position to find a spot for him in their lineup.
Lutz will be mostly playing third base for now and is unlikely to compete for an outfield spot unless the team uses him in there within the next few weeks. The 26-year-old will start the season in minor leagues if he is not able to make the switch to the outfield in time.