LZ’s Lutz is on the fast trackBarrington Wednesday, 5/25/11
Lake Zurich pitcher, Mike Lutz (23) checks a Mundelein runner at first base during the 3rd inning of Wednesday's regional game played at Barrington High School. Mundelein won the game 9-1. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 12, 2011 1:36PM
As he continues to impress, Michael Lutz is quickly developing into a Division I prospect.
The Lake Zurich High School senior-to-be compiled a 3-3 record last spring. But the more telling number was an ERA of 2.25.
“Lutz proved himself as a sophomore,” recalled Bears coach Gary Simon. “He shut people down.”
Lutz displayed a shutdown mentality as a junior as well. A live fastball and sharp breaking ball kept the hitters off-balance. In addition, Lutz fired strikes on 69 percent of his deliveries.
With better offensive support, he would’ve sported a winning record.
“The three games he lost, he didn’t really lose,” Simon said. “We lost them (as a team).”
Lutz can blow away hitters with a powerful fastball. In 37 1/3 innings, he allowed only 34 hits and 15 walks while striking out 46.
“He throws hard,” Simon said. “He’s hit 90 (on the radar gun). I think he’s a Division I player.”
This is not an overstatement. Lutz put together a strong weekend at the recent Northwest Suburban Baseball Tournament, catching the eye of a prominent Big Ten scout.
“Tim Stoddard is the pitching coach at Northwestern,” said Simon of the former Major League pitcher (41-35 in 14 seasons in the big leagues). “He (Stoddard) said that Mike has a live arm. He’s also confident Mike would be a good fit (at NU) because he’s a good student.”
Simon knows Lutz has the right attitude to succeed at the next level.
“He’s a good baseball player and a great individual,” Simon said. “He’s always yes-sir, no-sir. I don’t think he’s ever had an umpire mad at him.”
Suddenly, the Bears have a formidable 1-2 punch on the mound. Right-hander Sean Eder, who sports a fastball in the upper 80s, also flourished at the Junior Showcase at Stevenson.
“Eder has been getting very good lately,” Simon said. “We had six guys last year who could start and be No. 1-type guys.”
The leader of the 2011 pack was senior Parker Asmann. The right-hander was 4-4 with an ERA of 1.98. In 42 1/3 innings, Asmann allowed 37 hits and 12 walks while fanning 54.
Hitting stars: Asmann has always owned plenty of promise as a hitter. He finally fulfilled that potential in 2011 by hitting .465 with eight doubles, four triples, one homer and 22 RBI.
“This was the first year that he was really hot,” Simon noted.
Asmann will take his hitting and pitching skills to Evansville University next year.
The hitting mantle will be passed to Eder. As a junior, Eder hit .418 with seven doubles, four homers and 27 RBI. He exploded during the Junior Showcase, ripping a double and home run in one game.
Looking ahead: The Bears finished the 2011 season at 16-17. But the squad came to life in the second half by winning 13 of its final 17 games.
There is plenty of help on the way, as the LZ sophomore team hit 22 home runs while winning the NSC Lake title.
“They (sophomores) have some really good position players,” Simon related. “They all hit the ball pretty well.”
College bound: Aside from Asmann, these Bears will be playing college ball next year: Ben Gullo (Eastern Kentucky), Mike Irgang (Illinois Benedictine) and Mitch Tuthill (Illinois Benedictine).