During the 2018 season, there were very few prospects whose stock rose as much as 20-year-old infielder Gavin Lux. Selected by the Dodgers with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft, many people believed that he didn’t live up to his expectations during his debut campaign in 2017, when he struggled with the glove and hit just .244/.331/.362 in 111 games. However, the Wisconsin native came back with a vengeance last season, capping off the year by being named the organization’s Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year.
Lux started 2018 with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, batting .312 (72-for-231) with eight home runs and 35 RBI and was named a Cal League Mid-Season All-Star. He continued his dominance in the second half of the season, slashing .346/.396/.528 and was selected as a post-season All-Star, to finish ranked among league leaders in average (.324, 3rd), OBP (.396, 2nd), SLG (.520, 3rd) and OPS (.916, 2nd). After 88 games with the Quakes, Lux was promoted to Double-A Tulsa where he hit .324 (34-for-105) with four home runs, nine RBI and a .408 on-base percentage in 28 appearances.
Since joining the organization, he has appeared in 283 career minor league games, slashing .288/.368/.432 with 22 homers, 54 doubles, and 117 RBI.
According to MLB Pipeline, he’s currently ranked as the fourth-best player in the Dodgers’ system, trailing Alex Verdugo, Keibert Ruiz and Dustin May. So far this winter, the left-handed hitting Lux has elevated into the Top 10 best shortstops in the minors, as well as the Top 100 best overall minor league players.
Being a first-rounder, pundits expected much more out of him in his initial campaign at Low-A Great Lakes. Besides his low batting average, they were concerned about his absence of power at the plate and his ability to handle defensive duties at shortstop. Although his glove and range are excellent, he apparently had problems with his throws across the diamond, despite his rifle of an arm. Scouts attributed this problem to basic throwing mechanics.
To help alleviate his throwing dilemma, the organization let him spend a little time at second base to shorten-up his throws to begin his 2018 season at Rancho. It seemed to work nicely, as he registered only four errors in more than 149 innings at the keystone. But what scouts did not expect was a surge on offense. Alongside his 11 total long balls last year, Lux smashed 23 doubles and seven triples. He also stole 11 bases.
Once he settled in at Tulsa, he was relegated back to his natural shortstop spot where he handled his defensive duties without a hitch.
Team officials think his ceiling is very high, especially when considering his most recent power surge. Pundits have his big league ETA listed as 2020, and that assessment seems to be about right. Lux will likely begin his 2019 campaign with the Drillers, and if he continues his current rate of production on offense, should see time with Triple-A Oklahoma City sooner rather than later, receiving the chance to prove how well he can rotate between both middle infield spots.
Hitting Triple-A before his 22nd birthday would be a huge achievement for a middle infielder, especially one in the Los Angeles system.