In the throes of a seven-game losing streak after the All-Star break, how much more would the Cincinnati Reds have had to lose if manager Bryan Price had decided to play rookie Donald Lutz more, especially with both Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips shelved on the disabled list?
That question won’t be answered now, but it does appear that Lutz will remain on the active roster for now, even with Jack Hannahan activated from the disabled list.
Lutz started just twice during the seven-game losing streak and pinch hit just once. He was 2-for-8 with a pair of doubles. The 6-foot-3, 250 pound left-handed hitting masher seems perfectly suited to provide the kind of power supply the Reds desperately need, especially in the left-handed power void that has resulted from the total collapse of Jay Bruce at the plate (2-for-24 since the break and just one home run for every 34.4 plate appearances this year).
The 25-year-old Lutz has demonstrated his power production in the minors with an .813 OPS. and his .274 career minor league batting average and .339 on-base mark should’ve been enough to compel the Reds to play Lutz more than he has so far.
As a first baseman and corner outfielder, Lutz has the athleticism to hold his own in the field, so the question as to why Lutz has not seen more action remains unanswered.
Considering the Reds have scored all of 14 runs in their eight games since the break, the inclusion of a power hitter like Lutz in the lineup is sorely needed. And if the Reds are going to continue their tumble out of contention in the NL Central without Votto and Phillips, the everyday play of Lutz would be something Reds’ fans could look forward to watching for the remainder of the 2014 season.