The Yankees just signed a pitcher you’ve never heard of.
Oh, the New York Yankees could use another left-handed pitcher in the bullpen? You don’t say. Well, why not address that roster need by signing a guy who hasn’t played in Major League Baseball since 2015?!
Just kidding. That’s not how the Yankees are going to solve that issue, but they did really sign former Oakland Athletics lefty Lucas Luetge to a minor-league contract on Tuesday. The man said so himself on Twitter.
The last time the 33-year-old was seen under the bright lights came over five years ago when he was pitching for the Seattle Mariners. Across 111 games from 2012-2015, Luetge posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.48 WHIP with 74 strikeouts in 89 innings.
Since then, he was signed by the A’s, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks, but failed to crack the big league roster with any of those organizations. The good news? He absolutely tore up the minor leagues in 2019 after not pitching at all throughout the 2018 season (he underwent Tommy John surgery midway through 2017).
In the D-Backs’ system with Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Reno, the left-hander went 9-3 with a 2.38 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 74 strikeouts in 55 games (68 innings). Too bad the minor league season was canceled in 2020 because it would’ve been nice to see how he’d parlay that fantastic campaign.
Though he was on the A’s taxi squad in 2020, he never got all the way up to the 40-man roster.
It seems his ceiling is a lefty specialist since he’s held left-handed batters to a .209 average throughout his MLB career. On top of that, A’s manager Bob Melvin said last year that Luetge’s breaking ball makes lefty hitters “uncomfortable.”
We’re pretty sure that’s already a step above Luis Avilan and we haven’t even seen this guy throw a pitch yet. We’ll take it. Look for Luetge to start the 2020 season with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.