Dodgers Team News

Dodgers: Analyst Believes Move to Shortstop Will Elevate Gavin Lux as a Big League Defender

Gavin Lux came up through the Dodgers farm system as a shortstop, moving to second base because Los Angeles had Corey Seager and then Trea Turner at short. Now, with both Seager and Turner off on grand new adventures for zillions of dollars, it seems like Lux’s time at shortstop in LA has finally come.

Of course, this has some fans nervous, because Lux’s throwing arm from second base has been spotty at times, and the throw from short is much more difficult. If he can’t make the throws from second consistently, the thought process goes, what are the chances he can do it from shortstop?

Former Dodger and current analyst Jerry Hairston Jr. played both positions, too, and he doesn’t think it’s quite as cut-and-dried as people are making it seem, as he said recently on SportsNetLA’s Access Dodgers.

“Well, the biggest difference is the throw. Yes, it’s a longer throw from shortstop than second base. But, if you grew up as a shortstop like Gavin Lux was for many years — he was the number one prospect in all of baseball as a shortstop — always had the strong arm, but when you move to second base, you sometimes tend to drop your arm because you realize that first baseman, being on the right side of the infield, for so many years, it feels like you’re three feet away when you’re at second base. So you start to mess with your arm angles. You start to drop your elbow. You get into a lot of bad habits and you don’t have the proper mechanics with the throw, with the foundation. So he shortened up his feet and sometimes would baby the throws from second base because it was such a short throw. Now that he’s going back to his natural position, he can start to let it eat a little bit. Really get his feet underneath him and really start to throw the ball over the top the way he’s always done. …

“He has plenty of range. Is he going to be Ozzie Smith? Of course not, but we’re not asking him to be Ozzie Smith. Can he be a Michael Young type of shortstop? Can he be a poor man’s Cal Ripken Jr. at shortstop? Absolutely. I really believe this is going to help his game overall. When you’re the captain of the infield as a shortstop, you feel like you’re that number one quarterback. You’re the guy. I think this is going to elevate Gavin Lux’s game. He’s going to really bring it on defensively as well as offensively.”

Some of this is Dodgers optimism from a Dodgers employee, of course, but Hairston hasn’t been afraid to call people out in the past. And like I said, he played both positions, so he speaks from experience. There’s certainly at least a chance things will play out the way JHair says.

Lux was an outstanding hitter before his neck injury last year. If he can be even an average defensive shortstop, he could be very valuable for Los Angeles.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

One Comment

  1. Good article; the throw from second base is just weird enough to cause problems (speaking from experience). Also, it’s about time for people to stop second guessing Gavin; need to keep an open mind until if and when the guy proves he can’t handle it. Major league shortstop is an under the microscope position, especially in L.A.. Nobody should expect flawless execution in a player’s first season at the position. Look for marked improvement in season two. He does need to set his feet on the medium distance throws but they will fix that.

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