With the start of the 2012 Californian League baseball season hours away -- first pitch in Bakersfield is 7:15 p.m., Thursday -- there is plenty of hype emerging about standout prospect Donald Lutz, who shined for the Cincinnati Reds during Cactus League play.
Lutz, along with 20 other future Reds, will be playing tonight in the Reds' futures game, which is unique for a Major League team. The concept is the top 20 stars will take on the big club's opening day roster at Cincinnati's Great America Ballpark.
Lutz told the Cincinatti Enquirer that he's enthused abotu the opportunity to play in the big park.
"I've never been on the (GABP field) before," Lutz told the newspaper. "We had an off-day in Dayton last year, so I drove down to Cincinnati with my family to see a game against the Yankees. It was awesome. The stadium was full. It gave me a good taste. It'll be even better Tuesday, because I'll be playing. I'm really excited for this opportunity."
The 23-year-old Lutz is from Germany. His father a former U.S. soldier, his mother a German citizen, who raised her son there.
Lutz has only been playing baseball since he was 16, but he was impressive in the Spring for the Reds with a .320 batting average in 25 plate appearances for the team.
A website called Red Reporter is also tracking the progress of Lutz and others in the Reds' organization and he provides this assesement of the Blaze:
"You'll see a lot of familiar faces in Bako* this year, as a large chunk of the better players from last year's Dayton Dragons roster have been promoted," the Reporter writes.
Another prospect to watch is pitcher Kyle Lotzkar, who along with Lutz is on the Reds 40-man roster.