Dodgers: Silver Linings for Gavin Lux After Being Optioned
Top prospect Gavin Lux failed to make the Dodgers Opening Day roster. To further salt the wound, this expanded roster included five additional spots than in previous years due to COVID-19. The 22-year-old Lux showed up late to Summer Camp for unspecified reasons and did not impress at the plate nor in the field.
“He started playoff games last year; that just shows the confidence we have in him as a ballplayer, as a young man,” Roberts said. “I just want him to get right.”
However, Lux’s relegation to additional training at the “alternate site” at University of Southern California could be a net positive when all is said and done.
Chris Taylor and Kike Hernandez provide significant pop at second base, but can also play elsewhere once Lux is called up. The Dodgers have the Lux-ury of waiting until their top prospect has his swing, and attitude, in tune for the regular season. However, a team without the depth of the Dodgers would be forced to plug in their underprepared top prospect on Opening Day.
Time and time again we’ve seen teams rush a top prospect to the majors only to see them underperform to their player projection. Dansby Swanson (Braves), Kahlil Greene (Padres), and Jurickson Profar (Rangers) headline a list of top prospect middle infielders brought up too quickly for full-time duty. All three struggled to build any confidence at the plate and never achieved their lofty talent ceilings:
- First full-time season (Age 22): .232/.312/.324, 6 HR, 51 RBI
- Career WAR (4 seasons): 4.6
- 0 All-Star Games
- First full-time season (Age 23): .273/.349/.446, 15 HR, 65 RBI
- Career WAR ( 7 seasons): 8.5
- 0 All-Star Games
- First full-time season (Age 20): .234/.308/.336, 6 HR, 26 RBI
- Career WAR ( 6 seasons): 2.7
- 0 All-Star Games
Every prospect call-up hasn’t been a home run for the Dodgers, but they’ve earned the right to be patient with Lux. The organization’s talent evaluation is among the best in the league. They clearly felt that Lux needed additional time to prepare for the 2020 regular season.
Let’s not forgot, this is the same front office that groomed and nurtured Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger, and Walker Buehler. They deployed them as full-time players when they were ready.
Rushing Lux to a full-time spot in the lineup so he can hit sub-.200 isn’t going to help the Dodgers win today or tomorrow.
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Profar and Swanson are interesting comparables, although neither hit .390 at Triple A. Profar was always someone who wasn’t going to hit much and same with Swanson, although he is hitting .417 in 2020! Profar reminds me of Urias, we’ve been hearing about him for so long you almost think he’s retired. The one exhibition game I saw on Lux on TV, he looked completely lost on the field and at the plate. But – as usual – his grooming was totally on point.
I completely trust Doc and the Dodgers organization when it comes to this type of important decision. If a player is ready on EVERY front (that includes attitude, mentality etc.) then great! Let him play ball! But clearly Doc saw Lux just isn’t quite there. That being said, I’m really looking forward to seeing him when he IS ready!
The article speaks of Lux needing to get his swing and attitude ready for the season. That’s troubling on two fronts. One if it’s true and his attitude is bad. The second is bad if it’s not true and the writer is making stuff up.
The silver lining? Lux’s stock was very high last season and during the off-season. Alot of teams wanted him, even though he has done nothing at the MLB level. The Dodgers could have traded him for some top of the line proven young talent, like Lindor. Now he can’t hit, or play in the field. His stock has crashed. I don’t know if I believe the attitude problem thing. But if I had everyone saying I was bound to be great by some cosmic force, and turned out to be fifth wheel that went flat and couldn’t even make an expanded roster, I’d probably be depressed too. The tea leaves, crystal balls, and seances are no replacement for consistent hitting and fielding at the MLB level Few teams would trade for Lux now. So I guess the silver lining is that they aren’t paying him much, and he isn’t logging MLB time toward making real money. I see Will Smith is currently batting less than 100 too. The Dodgers should sign Russell Martin now. 2B will be fine without Lux. Better than with him. But the offensive power outage at catcher between Barnes and Smith is a real weakness.
Interesting that Corey Seager’s name was tossed around in trade talks all winter and Lux was untouchable. Now Seager is playing like an all-star and Lux, lost in the field and at the plate, couldn’t make the expanded roster. And it’s never a good sign when questions arise about one’s attitude.