Gavin Lux, Jeter Downs Both Ranked as Top 10 Shortstop Prospects

Jeter-Downs
(Matt Kartozian/USA TODAY Sports)

If you missed my column yesterday, it basically talked about how Kody Hoese and Michael Busch were among the emerging prospects of the Dodgers, as both were ranked inside MLB.com‘s Top 10 list at their respective positions. This morning, the shortstop rankings were revealed, listing rookie Gavin Lux as the baseball’s best shortstop prospect with 21-year-old Jeter Downs not far behind in eighth place.

Lux started his 2019 season with Double-A Tulsa batting .313 (81-for-259) with 13 home runs and 37 RBI over 64 games. The left-handed hitter was selected to the Texas League All-Star Game while also appearing in the 2019 Futures Game.

The 22-year-old Wisconsin native was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on June 27 and proceeded 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).

The 6-foot-2, 190-lb. Lux made his major league debut on Sept. 2, going 2-for-5 with three runs, becoming the first Dodger in franchise history to score three runs in his big league debut. He finished the regular season by slashing .240/.305/.400 with two homers, four doubles and nine RBI over 75 AB in 23 games. He was also named to the Dodgers’ active playoff roster in the 2019 NLDS against the Nationals.

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. The Dodgers also named him as their Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the year for the second straight season.

Many MLB pundits feel that Lux has a legitimate shot at earning 2020 National League Rookie of the Year honors.

For those unfamiliar with Downs, it was he and newly crowned Minor League Pitcher of the Year Josiah Gray the Dodgers gained when they shipped out Yasiel PuigMatt KempAlex Wood and Kyle Farmer to the Reds back in 2018.

Downs is a 5-foot-11, 185-lb. right-handed hitter who can comfortably handle the duties at both shortstop and second base, just like Lux. Some folks familiar with the Los Angeles farm have suggested that a move to third base could conceivably be in the cards for Downs, who possesses an above-average infield arm.

For the Low-A Dayton Dragons in 2018, Downs slashed .257/.351/.402 with 23 doubles, 13 long balls and 37 stolen bases over 120 games, hitting primarily out of the three-hole. More impressively, he tallied 52 walks, which boosted his OBP to almost 100 points more than his actual average.

Defensively in 2018, he played 73 games at the keystone and 43 at shortstop. In terms of fielding, he committed half as many errors at second, seven, than he did at short, 14.

During his first year in the Dodgers system, he hit .277/.362/.526 with an impressive 35 doubles, 24 homers and 86 RBI over 119 games. Most of those appearances were with High-A Rancho, but he was promoted to Double-A Tulsa in time to see action in 12 contests.

Last season in the field, he made 102 appearances and short and just 11 at second.

MLB.com is slated to release its Top 10 outfield prospects on Thursday, Jan. 23.

 

22 thoughts on “Gavin Lux, Jeter Downs Both Ranked as Top 10 Shortstop Prospects

  1. I’d sure like to see some of these guys hitting .300 at the lower levels. That would signal to me they are hitters first, sluggers second. An 1.116 OPS at AA tells me Downs may be ready to make the jump, but that is with only 48 at bats. Before that he hit .269 at High A. Meh. An .862 there tells me he was indeed successful, but again – you want to show me you can connect with Major League pitching you should hit AT LEAST .300 against Single and AA. But, this is a different ERA. OPS. It’s ALL about on base plus slugging. We got sluggers in our system. They also swing and miss – a lot.

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  2. Am I the only fan that can’t stand this petition they have going around for Boston and Houston to relinquish their WS titles to the Dodgers? Yes we should be champions with the egregious act of cheating that occurred. I can’t think of more ways to change the outcome of a game than for the batter to know every pitch that he’s about to get thrown but I don’t want it like that. It’s been since 1988 but I still would rather have none than a championship with an asterisk. To me that’s just the female body part, which I won’t mention directly, way to win. The players need to be punished as much as the coaches and front office however.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel that those two WS titles should be vacated. They should not be handed to the Dodgers, though. When people look back and see that there were no champions crowned during the 2017 & 2018 seasons, it won’t be difficult to remember why.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Fans need to voice their opinion, the louder the better, however the only voice that will actually matter is if we speak with our wallets. Don’t support the Astros or the Red Sox. If they play to empty houses on the road MLB will take notice. Will they vacate the Championships? Not likely.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Vacate titles yes, hand over to Dodgers no.

    Individual players still need to be damaged by their participation in this whole debacle

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  4. Just adding my voice to those who say the titles should be vacated but not awarded to any other team for those years (assuming Boston is proved to have done something). Players should not go unpunished.
    That said, MLB is not going to go back now and take titles away or punish players. if they were going to do that , it would have already been done.

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  5. My point from day one. Vacate the titles and declare no champion. Won’t happen because Manfred does not have the guts to do that. He still has not decided on the punishment for Cora or the Sox. Mets new manager is Rojas. He is Felipe Alou’s son. Was supposed to be the quality control coach. Avilan signs with the Yankees. Hard to believe he is only 30. Seems like he has been around forever.

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  6. MLB announced today that the titles will not be vacated. Manfred thinks the loss of 4 draft picks, the GM and manager losing their jobs and a 5 million dollar fine is enough to deter this kind of thing in the future. I think Manfred is delusional. Someone will figure out another way to cheat. They always do.

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  7. Here are the seven (7) Dodgers prospects for BA’s top 100.

    Only the Rays have more prospects with eight.

    IF Gavin Lux (4) RHP Dustin May (20) C Keibert Ruiz (81) RHP Tony Gonsolin (82) RHP Josiah Gray (84) IF Jeter Downs (86) C Diego Cartaya (97)

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      1. Believe it or not, Ruiz was actually ranked No. 20 overall last year. Joining Ruiz were outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 35), shortstop Gavin Lux (40), right-handed pitcher Dustin May (82) and catcher Will Smith (95).

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      2. Wow, quite a drop for Kaybear, although a very good 2020 and he could work his way right back up. I guess it does hurt his trade value a bit just in case AF is contemplating making a run at Arenado or Bryant or another run at Lindor or Betts.

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  8. Good to see cartaya sneak in there at 97. I think Ruiz did slide back a little from last year, seems to me he was somewhere around fifty, but I’m not 100% on that.

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  9. Mlb is not going to do any more than they’ve already done, and the only way any players are going to get punished, is if Mlb finds out that any of the players lied to the investigators somehow. If that were to happen then I think Mlb would come down on those players harshly.

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    1. I’ve been around long enough to know that liars exists in all walks of life and not only get away with it but are often encouraged to do so with awards and massive payoffs. It started for me early with my parents lying to me. I forgive them because they “had my best interest” in mind. As a teenager I saw my government lie to me about a “communist menace” and those guys have been doing it ever since making bank with the latest “liar in chief” not even bothering to try to hide it. I’ve seen cops lie in court and have hero badges pinned on them for it. Yeah sure, if players lied……. and if we had macaroni we’d have macaroni and cheese if we had cheese.

      I believe this is over. The elite win again because as makers of laws they reside above them. As trite as it sounds, it is what it is. And what is are Championship banners hanging where they don’t belong.

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      1. So a shot at political figures is appropriate in here? Just wondering about what is appropriate since the discussion came up previously

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