2019 Prospect Pad: Gavin Lux's Small Changes Make A Big Difference
CLEVELAND — Between the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Dodgers prospect Gavin Lux put in a ton of work to overhaul his swing and add more loft. Power is the name of the game now and is likely to be that way for the foreseeable future, so tweaking your swing to get more balls out of the yard seemed like a smart move.
"My bat path was pretty steep. I hit a lot of ground balls. I had a hard time matching, playing with offspeed,” Lux said during his interview at the 2019 Baseball America Prospect Pad. "So swing path was a big emphasis, and then kind of using my lower half to try to generate some more power, too.”
Then the season happened, and the changes didn’t pay off immediately. He collected just one hit in his first 20 at-bats, and he began to wonder whether all of his time in the batting cages with his coaches had hurt more than it helped.
"I'm like, 'Oh, no, no, no, please. I worked way too hard for this to happen,'" Lux said. "But, yeah, I just kept with it, and obviously it's pretty reassuring if you see results quicker. You know obviously it doesn't happen like that all the time and that's baseball, but it's like getting to hit your first at-bat. You know, you're like, ‘OK,’ and I can relax, you know. So it was definitely very reassuring right away.”
Looking back, it’s clear those swing changes, despite the slow start, proved to be a turning point in his career. Lux finished that April with a .330/.431/.451 slash line along with eight doubles, a home run and 14 RBIs.
He tore up the California League, then did the same in a monthlong turn at Double-A Tulsa and opened the season ranked No. 40 on BA’s Top 100 Prospects list. He returned to Double-A to begin 2019 and picked up right where he left off in 2018.
Lux, 21, began the year as the ninth-youngest player in the Texas League, and he continued punishing the primarily older competition. He was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City on June 27 after putting up an .896 OPS, which ranks second on the circuit behind only Mariners prospect Jake Fraley.
For that performance, Lux was rewarded with a spot in the Futures Game in Cleveland.
"I originally heard from our farm director, Will Rhymes. He called me. It was like—I was still sleeping. It was like 11:00 (a.m.) and we had a late game, and I woke up he's like, ‘Dude, just call me real quick.’ So I called him and he was like, ‘Hey, man, you got invited to the Futures Game. Congrats.’ That was the first thing I woke up to, so my day was already made.”
He’s started his Triple-A career by going 15 for his first 30 with a home run. If his career arc is any indication, he might spend this time next summer lining up for pregame introductions in Los Angeles.