Relief Pitcher Lucas Luetge #44
25 years old; Experience: rookie
If you are like me and you follow the Seattle Mariners a bit more than fairly regularly, then when Lucas Luetge made his Mariner debut earlier this year you probably said, "Who in God's name is that????" and then furiously rifled through all of last year's official programs from the few Rainier games you went to and then stayed up all night and lost a lot of sleep over this mysterious Mariner and what this man was doing on your team. Where did he come from? Who sent him? What is his purpose?
Well, to answer those panicked questions that kept me up at night, Lucas Luetge came from Texas by means of Rice University. He was sent over by the Milwaukee Brewers and his purpose is to remain on the 25 man roster for as much of the season possible. Luetge was picked up by the Mariners in the off-season's Rule 5 Draft, meaning he is automatically on the 25 man roster and cannot be sent down to the minors - just flat out waived and cut if it doesn't work out.
That is the beauty of Rule 5 Draftees. Sometimes there is a diamond in the rough there, and perhaps the Brewers just didn't have space for Luetge on the roster at that moment. Luckily for him, the Mariners have plenty of space in the bullpen for pitchers who can hopefully cut it.
Luetge doesn't exactly throw the ball too hard. His fastball tops out at around 90 mph when the weather is nice and warm (like spring training) and he likes to use his slider a fair amount. He had a pretty decent strike out rate with the Brewers farm system, averaging about one per inning. The key with Luetge is that he is a southpaw, one of the few existing in the bullpen. He will be called upon in key situations and hopefully he thrives under extreme pressure of trying to keep the Mariners around .500. If he does he should do all right this year. If not, well maybe he can try his luck with another team.