The Dodgers announced on Thursday afternoon that the organization has named infielder Gavin Lux as the Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year and right-handed pitcher Josiah Gray as the Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
The left-handed hitting Lux started his 2019 season with Double-A Tulsa batting .313 (81-for-259) with 13 home runs and 37 RBI over 64 games. He was selected to the Texas League All-Star Game while also appearing in the 2019 Futures Game.
The 21-year-old Wisconsin native was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on June 27 and went on to hit .392 (78-for-232) with 13 home runs and 39 RBI over 49 contests. Among Pacific Coast League batters with at least 200 plate appearances, he ranked second in average (.392), first in OBP (.478), fourth in slugging percentage (.719) and third in OPS (1.197).
Lux was named the 2019 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .347 (159-for-458) with 26 homers and 76 RBI in 113 combined games between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. He was the third Dodger to win the award since its inception in 1981, joining Mike Marshall in 1981 and Paul Konerko in 1997.
In four minor league seasons on the Los Angeles farm, Lux has amassed 79 doubles, 29 triples, 48 homers and driven in 193 runs while slashing .305/.383/.483 in 396 games.
Lux, the Dodgers’ first round selection (20th overall) in the 2016 First Year Player Draft out of Indian Trail High School, joins Billy Ashley (1993-94), Paul Konerko (1996-97), Chad Billingsley (2004-2005), Joe Thurston (2000, 2002), James McDonald (2007-08), Zach Lee (2013, 2015) and Joc Pederson (2010, 2012) as two-time Branch Rickey Award recipients.
Lux made his Major League debut on September 2, going 2-for-5 with three runs, becoming the first Dodger in franchise history to score three runs in his Major League debut.
According to MLB Pipeline, Lux is ranked as the best prospect in the Dodgers’ organization and the second-best prospect in all of baseball.
In 26 games (25 starts) combined this season between Low-A Great Lakes, High-A Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa, Gray finished with an 11-2 record and a 2.70 ERA (33 ER/130.0 IP) with 147 strikeouts against just 31 walks.
The 21-year-old New York native started his season in the Midwest League, posting a 1.93 ERA (5 ER/23.1 IP) in five starts before being promoted to Rancho. In 12 Cal League starts, he went a perfect 7-0 with a 2.14 ERA (16 ER/67.1 IP), a 0.97 WHIP and a .209 opponents’ batting average. After earning a promotion to Tulsa on July 17, Gray pitched to a 2.75 ERA (12 ER/39.1 IP) across nine games (eight starts) for the Drillers.
Gray was selected in the second round of the 2018 draft by the Cincinnati Reds out of Le Moyne College in New York. He was acquired along with infielder Jeter Downs in a trade from the Reds on December 21, 2018 that saw Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Alex Wood and Kyle Farmer shipped to Cincinnati.
In 38 career minor league games (37 starts) over two seasons, the right-handed pitcher is 26-7 with a 2.37 ERA (48 ER/182.1 IP) and has struck out 206 batters against 48 walks.
As far as his repertoire goes, Gray’s bread and butter is his heater, which has some natural cutting action and sits comfortably in the mid-nineties. It has been clocked as high as 98 MPH in 2018. For his age, he commands his fastball extremely well. His slider is also considered a plus pitch, but it often lacks command, unlike his fastball. He also throws a changeup that’s also a bit raw. Presently, he’s being groomed as a starter, but based on the brilliance of his four-seamer, he may eventually end up throwing in relief.
MLB Pipeline ranks Gray as the fourth-best prospect in the Dodgers’ system.
TBPC put together a concise profile surrounding Gray as recently as August 25.
Both Lux and Gray will both be presented with their respective awards and honored in a pregame ceremony at Dodger Stadium on September 21 prior to the Dodgers’ game against the Rockies.
(Juan Dorado furnished some information provided in this report)