Even With Delayed Arrival, Gavin Lux Feels Ready For Opening Day
LOS ANGELES—Gavin Lux missed the first week of Dodgers summer camp for reasons he would not divulge Thursday, terming it “personal information.”
The reigning BA Minor League Player of the Year was much clearer on his outlook for Opening Day. Even with the delayed arrival, Lux feels ready to go.
“I was getting live at-bats all quarantine, so I’m not worried about at-bats at all,” said Lux, the No. 4 prospect on the BA Top 100.
“I feel like I’m ready to go. I showed up ready to go.”
Lux, 22, arrived at Dodger Stadium on July 10 and played in his first intrasquad game July 12. He started Thursday’s intrasquad game and went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts.
Lux made his major league debut last year and is widely considered the Dodgers’ second baseman of the future, but the job isn’t his yet. Independent of his delayed arrival, the Dodgers’ deep group of position players meant the touted prospect was going to have to fight for playing time. Manager Dave Roberts declined to identify Lux as being in the lead for the second base job in spring training, and again declined to do so with a week until Opening Day.
“I don’t know about a leaderboard,” Roberts said. “I think our goal is just to get Gavin as many innings under his legs, get his feet under him and then try to throw as many at-bats at him as we can.”
Lux spent the shutdown in his home state of Wisconsin, working out with Brewers players and other major and minor leaguers in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas. He took part in live batting practices, took ground balls and stayed in game shape working with his uncle Augie Schmidt, the head coach at Division III Carthage (Wisc.) College.
That preparation has Lux feeling like he’s ready to be in the lineup on Opening Day. He enters the season as the early favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award after getting his first taste of the majors last year.
The Rookie of the Year award, however, is not his primary goal.
“I’d rather win a World Series than win Rookie of the Year,” Lux said. “That’s the main goal, trying to win games. Any statistic or accolade, that’s secondary. Really all I want to do is win.”
Two of the Dodgers top righthanded pitching prospects shined particularly bright in Thursday’s intrasquad game.
Ryan Pepiot, the Dodgers’ third-round pick in 2019, pitched two scoreless innings with one hit allowed and three strikeouts facing exclusively major leaguers. The Butler product sat 94-95 mph on his fastball and flashed the devastating changeup he’s known for , striking out Lux, reigning NL MVP Cody Bellinger and Matt Beaty, all lefthanded hitters. The 22-year-old has yet to pitch above low Class A but was added to the Dodgers player pool in a sign of how highly the value his development.
Josiah Gray, the Dodgers’ No. 6 prospect and No. 84 overall on the BA Top 100, started opposite Pepiot and pitched four innings with two hits and one run allowed, one walk and four strikeouts. Gray sat 94-96 mph on his fastball and landed some sharp sliders in the zone against a lineup of mostly big leaguers, notching strikeouts of Max Muncy and Kikè Hernandez, among others.
GONSOLIN BACK IN ACTION
Righthander Tony Gonsolin, the Dodgers No. 4 prospect, was also delayed arriving at summer camp for undisclosed reasons but has returned to the club. Roberts said he will pitch in an intrasquad game Saturday.
Gonsolin, 25, went 4-2, 2.93 in 11 appearances (six starts) in his major league debut last year. The Dodgers plan to deploy him in a similar swingman role this year, at least at the outset.
“Obviously we see Tony as a starter pitcher but has a lot of versatility,” Roberts said. “Anything can happen. We haven’t set our roster yet, but I certainly see Tony of huge value for us in some capacity throughout the season.”
RUIZ PLACED ON 10-DAY IL
The Dodgers placed catcher Keibert Ruiz, their No. 4 prospect, on the 10-day injured list Wednesday. Roberts said he could not disclose the reason why.
Ruiz, who has not yet reported to camp, joins righthanded pitcher Edwin Uceta, the Dodgers No. 19 prospect, and outfielders Zach Reks and Cody Thomas as prospects on the 10-day IL for undisclosed reasons.