Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Welcome to the Blue, Gavin Lux!

As you all know by now, the Dodgers called up one of their top prospects yesterday. Gavin Lux, who has absolutely decimated minor league pitching this year, is now wearing Dodger Blue in Los Angeles. Per a Dodger press release:
Lux, 21, is expected to make his Major League debut tonight against the Colorado Rockies. The Dodgers first round selection (20th overall) in the 2016 First Year Player Draft out of Indian Trail High School (Wi.) has hit .347 (159-for-458) with 26 homers and 76 RBI in 113 combined games between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. In 49 games at the Triple-A level, the infielder has clubbed 13 homers and driven in 39 while slashing .392/.478/.719. He was named Pacific Coast League Player of the Month for the month of July after hitting .435 (40-for-92) with eight doubles, four triples, seven homers and 26 RBI. The Kenosha, WI native led the league in batting average (.435), on-base percentage (.519), and OPS (1.356) while also tying for the league lead in runs scored (29) and triples (4) during the month of July. He was selected to the Texas League All-Star Game and appeared in the 2019 Sirius XM MLB Futures Game.
And what a debut it was. He recorded two hits; including his first Major League hit on the very first pitch he saw. Per Ken Gurnick at MLB.com:
“I saw a video of my first hit and my dad started crying,” said the 21-year-old Lux. “Oh, man, I thought he was the tough guy out of all of them.”
“It was my debut and, obviously, I was nervous,” he said. “First ground ball, first at-bat, OK, weight off my shoulders. I enjoyed it a lot. My first at-bat was a little emotional. Dodgers fans showed me a little love, that was good.”
Lux also scored three times, putting him in the Dodger record books -- per a tweet from Stats by STATS:
Given Muncy's recent injury I think it's fair to say that Lux has an outside shot of making the postseason roster. Should he perform at the plate and impress with the glove, he could prove to be a difference maker as the Dodgers attempt to finally take home a title.

BTW, you can watch Gavin meeting with Dave Roberts before yesterdays game, via a tweet from the Dodgers:
Also, below is a scouting report, via MLB Prospect Watch:
Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 60
Lux developed fine baseball instincts growing up around the game as the nephew of Augie Schmidt, the No. 2 overall pick and Golden Spikes Award winner in 1982 and the longtime coach at NCAA Division III Carthage (Wis.). He became a first-rounder himself as a Wisconsin high schooler in 2016, signing for $2,314,500 as the 20th overall choice, but struggled mightily for most of his first full pro season. He rebounded in 2018, leading all Minor League shortstops in all three slash categories (.324/.399/.514), reaching Double-A at age 20 and batting .424 in the Texas League playoffs to lead Tulsa to the championship. 
Lux broke out offensively after getting stronger and using his legs more while adding more launch angle to his left-handed stroke. Those changes as well as his bat speed give him more power than most middle infielders. He's an advanced hitter who has controlled the strike zone well and made consistent contact throughout his pro career, even when he wasn't putting up big numbers. 
With his plus speed and savvy, Lux can steal bases and has the upside of a 25-25 player. He has the raw tools to play shortstop, including quickness, soft hands and solid arm strength, and he has gotten smoother at the position since turning pro. But he also has had issues with throwing accuracy, leading to 61 errors in 208 games at short in his first three seasons, so many scouts think he'll wind up at second base.
Here are some other links I through worth checking out:
“Every kids’ dream is to get that call if you play baseball, so for me, it was a surreal moment,” Lux said. “A lot of people sacrificed a lot to help me get to this point. (I called) my parents and they started crying and (it made) me emotional. It was a very surreal moment.”
Dodger manager Dave Roberts said he sees Lux playing second base every day against right-handed pitching. That will provide Lux an audition for a postseason roster spot. 
“He’s going to have to play well, and that goes with anyone,” Roberts said. “As you get down to the end of the season, you want guys that are playing well, experience certainly matters, but so does performance. And all that has to be layered in. Right now for Gavin, it’s not about the postseason for him, it’s just more going out there and playing baseball and let’s see where it takes him.”
Lux’s progression from a defense-first, contact-oriented middle infielder was less the result of a swing “change” per se and more a combination of strength gains, tweaks, and a more focused approach. Since his 2016 stints in the Pioneer and Instructional Leagues, sources indicate that Lux has roughly doubled the number of balls he has hard hit, and at an optimal launch angle. In 2017, he hit line drives 12.1% of the time; in 2019, that number is up to 23.1%.
In celebration of Gavin's promotion to LA I made three custom fantasy Baseball cards of him. You can see them above.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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