What Would a Lux Call Up Look Like?
JocPop? Kike? CT3?
The answer lies in comparing the trios’ splits with those of Lux, and also in their defensive utility. Pederson seemingly has the least worthy case defensively but also provides the most offensive upside. At least it did until Taylor hit the IL with a broken wrist. So now we must compare Lux with Beaty, along with Kike and Joc Pederson.
On the defensive side, Pederson only plays the outfield and (a notably shoddy) first base, while Kiké has played every position beyond catcher with a relative degree of success and in playoff situations. Beaty is an all-around corners man who can play the corner infield and corner outfield positions. Therefore, in terms of defense, Pederson is surely most expendable.
Now on to offense. Since 2017, Taylor and Hernandez have nearly identical stats against left-handed pitching, with Pederson, of course, placing a distant third (Taylor and Hernandez both have a 120 WRC+ in this span with SLG and OBP scores with .01 of each other in similar amounts of plate appearances while Pederson has a WRC+ of 40 in this span).
For Beaty, his sample size versus major league lefties is extremely limited. He’s got just 14 PAs against lefties this season in the majors and is hitting just .143 against them. But at Triple-A, Beaty is hitting lefties well, to the tune of a .435 batting with 2 home runs in 23 ABs, so he looks solid.
For Lux, in Double-A in 2018 he only managed a .217/.250/.217 triple-slash against lefties in a small sample size (23 ABs). In 2019, Lux’s Double-A numbers look much better, as he is slashing .279/.319/.419 in 43 ABs, and thus looks much improved, though perhaps still not quite as strong against them as Beaty is.
If he can maintain those numbers in the majors, Lux would be a much more contact-oriented member of a platoon with Hernandez at second base and shortstop. Seager and Muncy will not make up the double play combo up the middle for more than 80% of the team’s games for the rest of the way thanks to Roberts harboring injury and platoon concerns about that pair, clearing the path to playing time at second base for Lux if he is called up.
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Lux, as a lefty with better-than-expected lefty-on-lefty splits, could provide a similar role to Pederson in an infield platoon but could return Muncy to first base while slotting in Taylor/Hernandez into a second base platoon.
My only issue with this would be the loss of the valuable clubhouse favorite Joc Pederson, beloved by the veterans on the team who have been with him through his highs and lows. Plus, Pederson is having a second coming this season, as he went toe-to-toe with Vladdy Guerrero Jr. in the Home Run Derby and set records to push him to the brink. But even with his resurgence, Pederson has struck out 34.5% of the time against lefties and has not walked even once.
This signals that he really does look to be a platoon member and a talented one at that against righties. But if the outfield proves crowded, and Taylor and Hernandez prove capable of hitting right-handers with numbers similar to Joc’s, he may find himself relegated to a pinch-hitting role if Lux is called up.
That’s why I am firmly against a July call up, and probably even against an early August call up. I want to give Hernandez a chance to regain his form, and to give Pederson a chance to capitalize on his Derby momentum, before giving Lux the keys to the kingdom.