Gavin Lux Improves His Few Shortcomings
The move from Double-A to Triple-A is supposed to be a difficult challenge for prospects.
Nobody told 21-year-old shortstop Gavin Lux.
A 2016 first-round pick out of high school in Wisconsin, Lux was doing pretty well at Double-A Tulsa—.313/.375/.521 with 13 home runs and seven stolen bases in 64 games—when he was promoted to Triple-A Oklahoma City in late June.
Then he took off.
Lux hit safely in each of his first 16 Triple-A games, compiling 35 hits and 69 total bases in 68 at-bats. He had a five-hit game and a five-game home run streak. During his streak he batted .515 with eight walks, 18 extra-base hits and a 1.580 OPS.
"I don't remember seeing anything quite like it," farm director Will Rhymes said. "He's a special player. I think that's becoming more and more clear. But a run like this is special."
Lux has taken big steps forward in each of the past two seasons. Splitting 2018 between high Class A Rancho Cucamonga and Tulsa, he compiled a .913 OPS. This year it's 1.036, and his 118 hits led all Dodgers minor leaguers.
"He's just getting at-bats under his belt," Rhymes said. "With as quickly as he'd moved coming into this year, he had just a little under 1,000 plate appearances. For a high school guy (out of the draft), that's not a huge number. There's a lot of upper-level at-bats under his belt now. This is a guy who just learns constantly."
Most satisfying for Rhymes was that Lux overcame throwing issues in the spring and attacked the challenge he was given to improve against lefties. Last year, the lefthanded hitter batted .217 against lefties at Double-A and .230 at high Class A. This season, Lux was inflicting much more damage against same-siders, albeit with a higher strikeout rate.
"After last year, it was kind of, 'How much more can this guy improve?' The main area of focus was versus lefties," Rhymes said. "I'd definitely bet on this guy when you lay something out to do for him to find a way to go out and do it."
— The Dodgers made a pair of minor league trades that sent lefthander Adam McCreery and catcher Josh Thole to the Angels and righthanded reliever Justin Grimm to the Reds, all in cash transactions. McCreery was moved to create an opening on the 40-man roster when A.J. Pollock was activated from the 60-day injured list.
— Lux and righthander Dustin May both participated in the Futures Game. Lux went 0-for-2. May touched 98 mph with his fastball while retiring all three batters he faced in the third inning on groundouts.