It’s a slow Wednesday morning, and I was sitting here and going through how young talented players are treated in certain sports and how some teams don’t help their young guys by putting them in better positions. So it got me thinking: What to make of Gavin Lux? In this article, I will talk about Gavin Lux and what he and the Dodgers could do to help him breakout.
Gavin Lux coming into this year, was the Dodgers number 1 prospect and was either number 2 or number 3 in all of baseball. What he did in the minors was nothing short of incredible. However, we haven’t seen that player so far in the Majors. The player we’ve seen is someone who’s struggling to find a rhythm, someone who looks like they’re struggling with timing, someone who has good bat speed, but it looks slow because of his complicated setup.
Let’s start in spring training, where he had a pretty good spring. He showed off his speed, had good at-bats, and was the favorite to win the second base job. As we know, spring was cut short, and when they returned for “Summer Camp,” he came in a week late, and everything good that we saw at spring training was out the window. He struggled mightily, and it shook his confidence, and it showed. He struck out a lot and even committed unacceptable errors on easy throws.
Those errors would return when he came up again, as well. Lux has had a case of the yips before, so that’s something that needs to be looked at closely. How do you fix the problem of the yips? In Major League 2, the new catcher would go over playboy articles in his head to not think about the throw, maybe that’ll work for Lux. Joking aside, he’s super athletic, has quick reflexes, and has shown great range to get to balls. It’s the throwing that’s been an issue so far.
Now, Gavin came in with tremendous hype, and so far, it hasn’t shown why. It’s even gotten a lot of fans to be down on him. I think this has affected him. When he didn’t break camp with the team and was sent to the alternate site, he even turned off his Instagram comments. Social Media is full of trolls, but he was clearly bothered by it and didn’t want to deal with it. He eventually would make his way back, but it was again a struggle when given a chance. I’m no therapist, but it seems he lacks confidence right now.
How can he change that? Well, it’s obviously easier said than done, but he has to remember he’s here for a reason. People without talent just don’t put up minor league seasons that he has. The Dodgers have some level of confidence in him cause they wouldn’t trade him for Lindor, nor did they trade him for Mookie. They think highly enough of him not to make those trades and have him be a big part of the franchise moving forward. He can’t let social media get to him. Again, there will always be trolls who he has to block out and focus on the game and controlling what you can control.
I’ve said this plenty on the Dodger Yard podcast, but for young players to find a rhythm and consistency, they need consistent playing time without fear of being benched while going through a short rough patch. They need to be able to work through it. Unfortunately for Lux, he doesn’t have that luxury because the Dodgers are in the championship hunt every year and can’t afford to sit and watch him struggle. Because of this, one little rough patch, and he’s on the bench. Whereas other teams are afforded to give their “Star” young players time to figure it out. Vladimir Guerrero Jr has struggled but was able to work through it and ended this season hot. Luis Robert had an up and down year, but he was allowed to work through it when he struggled, and it has paid off.
Lux hasn’t helped himself, but he’s also in a tough position. Let’s remember Verdugo was up and down the first few years and had spotty results because of it, but when he finally got a chance to play every day, he took full advantage of it. Some players need to know they’ll still be out there even if they make mistakes cause it just allows them to play instead of getting in their own head, overthinking, and pressing because of it.
How does he fix his struggles with his swing and timing? I think the Dodgers need to help him simplify his batting process. They should get his hands into a competitive position quicker, by loading up sooner. There were too many times where he was loading as the pitcher was releasing, and thus he was late on everything.
Chris Taylor has that same kind of load-up, but he does it much earlier in his process, allowing Taylor time to get his hands in a competitive position when the pitch comes. Maybe, getting the bat from behind Lux’s head could help him go through his progressions quicker. When he was in Rancho, his bat wasn’t behind his head, and his hands were in a good position already.
I would like to see him, for now taking the Seager approach, and that’s attacking the 1st pitch. Pitchers challenged him with fastballs on the first pitch, and he should make them pay until they adjust. I would also like Lux to sit with Turner and Mookie and watch some of his film to breakdown where he can improve.
Lux has shown flashes, but they are few and far between. The good news is he’s still young just 23. These issues can be fixed. This is going to be a big spring coming up for him. I still believe in him and his abilities to show us why he’s so highly regarded.
It is hard to make conclusions of anyone who hasn’t even had half a season’s worth of plate appearances yet. He’s had 150ish plate appearances, and it’s been up and down, but it’s been filled with inconsistent playing time and trying to find a rhythm and timing during a pandemic where he showed up late due to personal reasons. It’s been an odd time for Lux, but it’s too early to give up on him. We, as fans, have to exercise some patience.