Monday night, outfielder Donald Lutz pinch-hit for the Cincinnati Reds to become the first German-developed player to play in Major League Baseball. Lutz was also a member of the German National Team that competed in the Qualifiers for the 2013 World Baseball Classic and is the second graduate of the Major League Baseball International European Academy to play in the Major Leagues.
Lutz was signed by the Cincinnati Reds after being selected to attend the MLB International European Academy held in Tirrenia, Italy in 2006 and 2007.
The Major League Baseball International European Academy is designed to provide promising junior players with both the environment and the instruction to reach their full potential. Each summer, the European Academy brings together the brightest young playing talent in Europe and Africa with the best in Major League coaching and instruction. The Academy seeks to provide a path for elite players from this region to improve their skills in preparation for the rigors of professional and international baseball. The first graduate of the European Academy to play in Major League Baseball was Alex Liddi of the Seattle Mariners who made his Major League debut in 2011.
In addition to helping these bright young stars develop their skills, the Academy enables MLB Clubs to scout the best future talent. As a result, 57 Academy graduates from 12 countries to date have signed professional contracts with 21 different MLB organizations. Of the 57 European Academy players who have been signed, 28 are still Active Players with their organizations.
Born in New York, Lutz and his family moved to Germany when he was a year old. He began playing baseball at 15 and attended the MLB supported training academy in Regensburg, Germany before attending the European Academy. Previous Major Leaguers born in Germany have been children of American military personal who were stationed in Germany.