When people talked about the talent on the Dodgers’ lineup, it was perhaps easy to forget about Gavin Lux, once the team's top prospect. In fact, it wasn’t clear just how much Lux was going to be in the lineup.
But when the Dodgers traded AJ Pollock to the White Sox, the opportunity was there for Lux. He was going to play every day. He was going to be a big part of what the Dodgers were going to do in 2022.
A little over a week into the season, Lux is showing why the Dodgers made those moves.
“Gavin is playing tremendous baseball on both sides of the ball,” said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. “Really taking good at-bats. Using all fields. Running the bases well. So it’s really fun watching Gavin kind of put it together right now.”
It wasn’t always easy for Lux, however. He wasn’t living up to his early hype as a top prospect. He struggled at the plate, posting a .692 OPS in 102 games last season. Through some of his early struggles, it was often easy to forget that Lux didn’t have a prolonged runway to show his potential. He’s also still just 24 years old.
So far this season, he’s shown every sign of the player who hit .392 in 49 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City in ‘19. Coming into Sunday's game against the Reds, Lux has a .348 batting average, the second-best mark in a star-studded lineup.
A big reason for his early success is the fact that he’s all over opposing pitchers’ fastballs. He’s averaging 95.3 mph off the bat against heaters this season. Lux’s batting average against fastballs is up .120 from where it was in ‘21. His overall hard-hit percentage ranks in the 97th percentile in the Majors.
“I think he’s really committing to using the whole field,” Roberts said. “You have to make real good pitches to [strike him out]. So he’s buying into the approach, the plan and his mechanics are right where they need to be.”
Lux’s confidence continues to build after every hit. His defense at second base has also been a strength for the Dodgers. It’s just a small sample size, but there’s plenty of reason to believe Lux has a chance to be another good hitter in this lineup. It might’ve taken a little longer than expected, but maybe it’s time to believe the hype.