Dodgers Prospect Watch: Gavin Lux Continues to Adjust

lux

Even though he has recently climbed into the Dodgers’ Top 5 prospect rankings, there’s still plenty of improvement needed for 21-year-old Gavin Lux to succeed—on both sides of the ball.

Just when it seemed like he has his swing mechanics figured out, problems with his arm appear to be re-emerging, something which has haunted him over the past few seasons.

The good news is that he’s only 21 years old, and the Dodgers think so highly of him that they named him as the team’s 2018 Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year last fall.

The Wisconsin native started his 2018 season with Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, batting .312 (72-for-231) with eight home runs and 35 RBI and was named a 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 California League All-Star, finishing among the league leaders in average (.324, 3rd), OBP (.396, 2nd), SLG (.520, 3rd) and OPS (.916, 2nd).  After 88 games with the Quakes, he 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.

His stellar 2018 season came after a dreadful 2017 campaign when he spent the year exclusively with Low-A Great Lakes. He was mired in an offensive funk for most of the season, hitting just .244/.331/.362 in 458 AB. He did rally to hit over .300 for the final eight weeks of the season, though, and his 27 stolen bases proved how valuable he can be on the basepaths.

“In 2017, I played with a ton of stuff during the season and it kind of messed with me mentally,” Lux recently told Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com. “Once I kind of figured it out in the offseason going into last year, I was like ‘Man, I’m just going to stick with what I’m doing right now. It feels good, so I’m not going to tinker with my mechanics too much.’ That kind of helped to stay consistent and I could just worry about my approach and game plan going into the games and not worry about mechanics so much.”

Starting 2019 on the big league side of spring camp, he has certainly struggled with his bat a bit, but that’s to be expected considering the level of competition he’s facing. So far during Cactus league play, he has gone just 3-for-20 with a double and a triple.

But his swing mechanics aren’t his only concern. There has been a lot of chatter about the accuracy of his arm—something we’ve been talking about for a few years now.

Although his glove and range are excellent, he apparently has problems with his throws across the diamond, despite his rifle of an arm. Scouts have 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.

However, the problem seems to have returned, perhaps from a frequent fluctuation between shortstop and second base during spring camp—a kind of versatility that boss Andrew Friedman expects from many of his top prospects.

Skipper Dave Roberts has attributed Lux’s recent dilemmas to grip issues and improper footwork. Last weekend, Lux spent time with infield instructor Jose Vizcaino trying to sure-up his defensive mechanics on the diamond.

These are the advantages of a prospect having a full major league coaching staff at his disposal during the early spring months—time will tell how much Vizcaino’s tutelage has benefited the youngster.

Looking ahead, there’s a good chance that Lux will begin the year at Double-A Tulsa, but depending on how well he performs on both sides of the ball, a mid-season promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City wouldn’t be out of the question.

Since being selected as the first-round pick by the Dodgers in the 2016 draft, Lux baseman has appeared in 283 career minor league games, slashing .288/.368/.432 with 22 homers, 54 doubles, and 117 RBI.

 

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31 thoughts on “Dodgers Prospect Watch: Gavin Lux Continues to Adjust

  1. I know the kid has a poor spring and a case of the yips, but I think a lot of that had to do with this being his first time in major league camp. We all can get nervous and not be our best. I think the kid will be fine. Interesting over the last 2 days ESPN has put out it’s ratings of the top 100 players in MLB. 6 Dodgers on the list with the lowest being Bellinger at # 61 and the highest was Kershaw at # 41. Joining those 2 were Seager, Turner, Buehler, and Jansen. Trout was rated #1 and Mookie Betts # 2. Machado was in the top 10 at #8. Bryce Harper is not in the top 10. He was rated the # 15 player. Obviously they were not basing this on salary. Ohtani also made the list. Just an interesting read. One of the players the Braves sent down yesterday was former Dodger Grant Dayton. I did not even know he was in camp with them since we have not heard much about him since his arm problems. At one time I thought he was one of Ol Andy’s better pick ups.

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    1. Well it’s been mentioned more than once here, and elsewhere, that we are not exactly a diamond studded coetus noster. Who is it on this roster that will keep us from going to the can? Nobody. People won’t take a leak when Harper is up. Turner? Bellinger? Pederson? Meh. I’ll be back in a few minutes. Need anything while I’m out?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactamundo Scoop…Someone addressed the excitement factor on another blog..I said they were outright boring to watch, and will be more so with the Wild Horse gone.

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  2. Six straight division titles. Two straight World Series. I’m just bored to death! Before he was injured Seager was top 5 MVP voting. As “exciting” as Harper was last year Muncy had a way better year! The problem here is not the Dodgers it’s it’s your prostates!

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  3. Kershaw’S only the best pitcher of his generation. Turner only one of the best post season hitters of all time. Buehler only is a future Cy Young winner. Bellinger only one of best defensive players in baseball and can hit 40 hr’s! And on and on. Jansen had been one of best closers in baseball!’ What are u guys smoking?

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    1. Correction. There is nothing wrong with our prostates or we would be dead. Second point, Bellinger has the chops to hit 40 homers, but he never has. He hit 14 less last year than he did the year before and he played 30 more games. No one can predict that Buehler is going to win a Cy Young. He is very good, that is a given, but he has to become the best, and that is not. Turner is not even on the top 10 post season hitters of all time list. The only Dodger on the list is Kirk Gibson and that includes his stats with the Tigers. Turner is a very good post season hitter, but he is far from one of the best of all time. # 1 on the list is Carlos Beltran. 2 & 3 are Gehrig and Ruth. You are looking at this team with rose colored glasses and see no cracks or flaws, we on the other hand have more discerning views and see the cracks. Bellinger as good as he is, strikes out way too much so far in his young career. He is an exceptional fielder. Muncy had a good year, but way better than Harper? Not really. He hit 1 more homer than Harper did, had 21 less RBI’s. Harper had a higher OBP. Muncy had better slugging and OPS stats. Muncy still managed to strike out over 130 times. Harper struck out more, but also had 100 walks 21 more than Muncy. So their years were actually not all that one sided. And, just to be fair. Kershaw was the best pitcher, he no longer is. He has become fragile and injury prone. He has been so inconsistent in the post season and that is probably the biggest minus on his career. 3 Cy Youngs and an MVP say a lot for his total work. But the flame outs in the big games tend to tarnish that Ace image. The team is more workman like than exciting. The most exciting player on the field is gone. Maybe some one on the team can become that. But taken as a whole, this team is about as exciting as watching a casket warp. They win in the regular season. But flame out when it is crunch time. 6 straight division titles are nice. But not really the goal are they? There are no trophy’s for second fiddle in the majors. You can be satisfied if you like, but those of us who have seen them finish the job are not.

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    1. Nope. You’re not alone Rich.

      The point, I think, was that out of the 100 “Top” players in the game none of the top 40 were Dodgers. I accept that and can live with it if it means I’m watching those Dodgers not in Top 40 play in mid October. Many of those players in the Top 40 are playing golf in mid October. It has nothing to do with prostates and mostly to do with ego. I don’t give a rusty red rat’s ass how many of our are players are ranked “Top” according to ESPN …. and I don’t give a damn how many Dodgers are All Stars. I’d prefer they were home resting over that break. What matters to me is playing in the Post Season Tournament.

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  4. I bow to the almighty discerning eye of bear! I’m not saying this team is perfect and has no flaws but you guys act like your rooting for a fifth place team! So sorry but I’m excited by many of the players on this team who when healthy several can be all stars. Scoop, Machado was ranked 7th and you’d rather have him instead of Seager? Really! And you were bored by a guy like Muncy who comes out of nowhere and hits to a .983 OPS last year. You two are too much! And the both of you keep whining about Puig who self admitted what a selfish jerk that he is!

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  5. Just because they came up a game short in 17 and again made a WS in 18 and got beat by a better team doesn’t make them a failure in my eyes! It’s been an incredibly exciting run and watching post season games at Dodger stadium has been electrifying!

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    1. I never said they were boring. I rather enjoyed watching them win.

      But, I didn’t renew my ‘script to mlb this year. We intend to move to the OC as soon as possible so I’ll see if tv is available where we end up. Probably not with how ridiculous the tv negotiations have gone. I’ll cross that ditch when I get to it

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      1. The only way you will get Dodger baseball is if you use Spectrum. That is what my sister has and they are on there. The Angels use Fox sports west.

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    2. I have plenty of credibility and never assume to tell me what to get excited over. SO Buehler pitches once every 5 days and I am supposed to be giddy about it? Moronic there bud. As far as Puig goes, no body said the guy was perfect. He had plenty of flaws and we all recognized that. But when the man was on the field he was fun and exciting to watch. I take no joy watching a bunch of guys flailing away at pitches they could never hit. Your opinions there bucco, and you are more than welcome to voice them. I just look at the team and the game through a different lens than you, and if you don’t win the big one, it is failure.

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  6. By the way Rich, compared to Koufax, Kershaw is boring. Every time Sandy took the mound something exciting could be expected.

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  7. Only the best for you bear! So you can’t enjoy a day at the beach because it’s not the most beautiful beach in the world. Can’t enjoy a good meal because it’s not the best restaurant in the world. Can’t enjoy the Dodgers when they win 6 straight division titles go to 2 straight WS winning 90-104 games a year! Tough to be you bucco!

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  8. All Dodger players have been instructed to lick their bats and miss the cutoff man this year to please the gang at Think Blue this year!

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    1. Because I have been a fan for 65 years there bucco. So I have earned the right to not be lulled to sleep. What I like or dislike is none of your damn business. I do not drink the Freidman era cool aid. I have seen them win with less talented teams. And Puig, for all his foibles was fun to watch. Yeah, he missed the cutoff man more than a few times, but rarely did it cost them a game. You prefer watching Pederson and Bellinger striking out? If that’s your bag fine. I am glad Seager is coming back. Always liked the guy. Plays hard. There is no beach where I live, just a lot of mountains. I enjoy music, and I enjoy the beautiful scenery where I live. I do not have to enjoy what I consider to be a boring baseball team. And I do not consider just getting there to be good enough. You do. Great Enjoy almost winning. I never said they were a total failure either. I said not finishing the job is failure. There are some players on the team who are very good. The rest are nothing but a bunch of utitility guys. That is how Ol Andy builds a team. You go ahead and like what you want, but never ever tell me what to think or how to feel. You do not know me well enough to even have the slightest inkling of how I feel.

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    1. I enjoy parts of it. Others not so much. I am old school. I hate strikeouts. Wasted at bats in my mind. It is not fun to watch player after player not try to beat the shift. I like some of the players. Turner, Belli, Seager, and I always liked Kemp. I was really happy he started off as good as he did and he kept them afloat while others floundered. I always liked Utley. Played all out all the time. You try not following or being a fan of a team when you have invested as much time and energy into that team as I have. I have never not been a fan, even when they were a lot worse than they are now. 67 to 72. I have been on the field and in the dugout. Made friends with one of my favorite players, Wes Parker and got to sing the Anthem at the Stadium. So if I am too critical for you, well I have my reasons. I am no fan of Friedman, but that’s just me. I think he gets way too much credit when a lot of the parts were already in place. He has added some and subtracted some and made both good and bad decisions, but where in the fans manual does it say I have to like the guy? I was as frustrated at times with Puig as I am with Pederson and his struggles to get more consistent. But the roster is made of up the exact same type of players. Multi positional utility guys for the most part. Pollock is not one of those, and at the age he is neither is Turner. But you know at some point they are going to at least consider moving Seager to 3rd. There is not one super star type player on the team in a city that pretty much has been filled with them. I do not care for the hitting philosophy they teach now. But I can guarantee you that I am not the only one. I see frustration from many of my friends who are also fans, and like Scoop, I cancelled my MLB package. The cost of going to games is way beyond my means now, and watching them has also gotten very expensive. So, you just let me worry about what I like or do not like, and you do the same for you. I won’t tell you how to think or who to root for, and you do the same for me.

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  9. It’s just nice to hear that you like some of the players! I got to hear this one again. You got to sing the anthem at one of the games! What! Got to give us the story behind that!

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    1. In 1980, I went to a card show in Anaheim and I met Wes Parker. He autographed some cards for me and actually went up and got Duke Snider’s autograph on a piece of paper for me. I got Dukes signature on an 8X10 photo later that day. I was scheduled to do a show at George’s Round Up in Long Beach about a month later and I gave Wes some tickets to the show. He actually showed up and stayed for the entire evening. We talked baseball and I introduced him to the band leader, Danny Michael’s who was a huge Dodger fan. Over the course of the evening I just happened to mention that my dream was to sing the Anthem at Dodger Stadium. Wes, who was still working for the Dodgers at the time, said he would see what I needed to do for that to happen. He called me in November and told me that I needed to make a cassette tape with 3 different versions and me singing the anthem without accompaniment. I did that, took the tape to his dad’s machine shop in Santa Monica and Wes took the tape to the people who needed to hear it. In early March I got a letter from the Dodgers saying that they were scheduling me to sing the anthem on the 9th of September 1981. They sent 4 box seat tickets, a parking pass and a field pass with the letter. So all I had to do was wait. Of course, the players went on strike and I was not sure it was going to happen. As soon as the strike was settled, I got a letter saying I was still singing as scheduled. They had won the first half, so they were going to be in the playoffs pretty much no matter what. The game was against the Giants. Wes met me in the dugout and gave me a ball for the players to sign. I met Tommy and a few of the players and got about 15 signatures on the ball including Sutcliffe, Sax, Manny Mota and Jerry Ruess. The Dodger representative took me out to CF where in those days they set up the mic. I shook hands with Fernando and Bobby Castillo on the way out there and they took my picture with Jay Johnstone. I sang the anthem in front of about 50,000 folks. They took me back under the LF pavillion where I met Francis Friedman who was a fixture out there in the pavilion for years. She used to twirl a bag of garlic when the opponents were hitting to put a hex on any rally’s. Quite a character. Then I met Sutcliffe coming out of the Dodger club house. Got back to my seat and watched the game. It went extra innings. Garvey tied it with a homer in the 9th, but the Giants scored 3 in the 10th to win it. Cey had his arm broke by the Giant pitcher. A great memory. Dodgers sent me a letter about a week later thanking me.

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