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Dodgers News: MLB Writer Calls Out Gavin Lux as ‘Player Who Needs to Step Up’ in 2023

Free agency is always an exciting time as we see superstars either switch teams (like Trea Turner and all the other big-name shortstops) or dramatically stay with their previous teams (Aaron Judge, I’m looking at you). But another intriguing aspect of free agency is see what teams do after they lose a free agent.

In that vein, MLB.com put out an article about eight players who need to step up in 2023 because they’re filling a hole internally that wasn’t filled externally. Not surprisingly, Gavin Lux — who would be the Dodgers’ starting shortstop if the season started today — is on the list.



For the second straight offseason, the Dodgers have to replace a departed free-agent shortstop. But unlike 2022, when they had the luxury of replacing Corey Seager with another All-Star in Trea Turner, their solution isn’t obvious heading into 2023. Lux could be the guy if he fulfills the promise he showed while ascending the ranks to become MLB’s No. 1 overall prospect. The 25-year-old made strides at the plate last season, recording a career-high 105 OPS+, but he also hit just six homers and slugged .399 (including .354 vs. left-handed pitchers) over 471 plate appearances.

In my opinion, all the people focusing on Lux’s overall numbers are overlooking the fact that he was injured the last six weeks of the season. From the start of the season through August 22 — he first missed time with his neck injury on August 23 — Lux batted .298/.373/.439 for an OPS of .812. That’s an OPS+ around 122, which would be outstanding for a shortstop. Only Carlos Correa, Xander Bogaerts, Bo Bichette, and Francisco Lindor hit better last year among MLB shortstops.

Lux also hit just fine against lefties before the injury, with a .763 OPS and a 121 wRC+ against southpaws through August 22.

Does Lux need to step up in Turner’s absence? Absolutely. But his chances of doing so are a lot better than this article gives him credit for.

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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. He's been blogging about baseball and the Dodgers 2004 and doing it professionally since 2015. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.

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8 Comments

  1. Yes, I agree. Gavin was a solid hitter until the injury. And with his first full year under his belt; I think we can have faith that he will be as good as the time frame up through August. His batting average was actually trending upward through the year. He had a really good approach at the plate. Obviously, he needs to have a solid offensive year with Trea Turner gone. I have a good feeling about his fielding, too. He has had a positive defensive WAR every year since he arrived, also. We are going to be alright at short. Sounds like Miguel Vargas is putting in some serious work this winter on his defense. Man! Got a great feeling about our stable of rookies.

  2. I agree with Mr. Riddle. Lux has earned the right to at least be given the chance to be the everyday shortstop. Also, I would like to see Busch and Vargas given the opportunity to play themselves out of the second base and third base positions. I realize that is a lot to expect from two rookies, but what if it works out? Next season is going to be interesting considering what the Padres have done this winter. I may not like the Padres, but I respect the effort (and money) they have spent on trying to improve their team. As of right now, we may be able to have a real competition for the western division.

  3. Mookie needs to step up and play like a superstar (OPS>.900) and not just a very good player (OPS .800-.899).

  4. I would love to see Mookie hit .320 with 20 Hr and 95 RBI and 40 steals. Run Mookie, Run!

  5. LA has lots of options at every position. In particular, Lux is backed up by Taylor. If there are injuries, they can call up Jacob Amaya. In center field, Thompson is backed up by Taylor, Betts, and Lux. Muncy can play first, second and third base. It is also unclear at this point whether JD Martinez will take the field, or whether Jason Heyward will make the team. Let them stay under the CBT and add Ohtani next year (or after mid-season).

  6. If Lux is given the runway to play SS, I hope he takes this opportunity seriously. He hasn’t impressed me to endure the grind of the season to play that position consistently everyday. Yeah he has shown glimpses of production, but after the mid-season, Lux start to fade. He has to get stronger and build his stamina to physically and mentally handle the position. His footwork needs improvement, arm strength needs to be stronger, range is good but could develop the quick spring in the legs. Also playing SS, you have to be mentally savvy. Lux tend to have brain fog at times and seems to be lost or unable to foresee scenarios. Hope he’s working hard to improve his game because he’s had 3yrs. on the team and they need him now to step it up.

  7. Showing up at the ballpark and not knowing IFFF you are playing and if you are in the lineup, what position you are going to play, has to screw with your head a little.

    This was a kid that was a star through his amateur days, and a star through his minor league days. But the Dodgers have been treating him like a journeyman veteran. Some players respond ok to that, others struggle.

    Actually Lux has done quite well considering.

    With all that said, I remain convinced that he will put up top half numbers for everyday SS’s in the NL.

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