Dodgers facing a luxury dilemma in September with Gavin Lux
There is no such thing as too much talent in a sport like baseball. Still, the Dodgers have a luxury dilemma on their hands with Gavin Lux.
According to the Athletic (subscription required), the Dodgers are strongly considering promoting top prospect Gavin Lux in September. Not that it comes as any surprise as the Dodgers have talked about this over the last few weeks. There is also a chance that Lux could come up just to observe, as the Dodgers did with Will Smith a season ago.
The Dodgers will be faced with a problem when Lux is called up, although it’s a great problem to have. How many at-bats should they give Lux who is hitting over .400 in AAA and slugging over .700? While the popular take would be to play him every day and see if he can become the club’s everyday second baseman, there is a risk associated with that type of move.
Lux in the everyday lineup would make LA’s lineup even more left-handed and also take playing time away from Kristopher Negrón, Kiké Hernandez, and Chris Taylor who are all fighting to make the postseason roster and become the starter at second base. While Hernandez and Negrón are more utility types, Chris Taylor has a strong case to be the club’s starting second baseman.
Not only is Taylor dependable with the glove (one of the few things Lux isn’t), but Chris has been solid against both left and right-handed pitching. Taylor has an OPS of .844 against southpaws and .763 against right-handed pitching. He is also a clutch batter as evidenced by his .358 average with runners in scoring position this season.
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Not to mention Taylor is also a playoff-tested veteran after being a part of the last two World Series runs. His catch in game seven of last year’s NLCS may have saved the Dodgers’ season and he hit over .360 in the NLCS. With youngsters like Will Smith, Alex Verdugo, and Matt Beaty all set to get their first postseason action this October, another veteran would only help stabilize the lineup.
So what approach should the Dodgers take with Gavin Lux? I don’t think they should bring him up just to observe but they should give him a limited number of at-bats. Let him get his feet wet in the big leagues as he is the favorite to open the 2020 season as the Dodgers’ starting second baseman.
With the division wrapped up, the Dodgers could let him take over mid-game at second base and get a few at-bats and defensive work. Then he can also fill in to give Corey Seager and Chris Taylor a day or two off a week.
Despite that approach, if Lux comes up and starts destroying Major League pitching the way he did minor league pitching, then give him more at-bats. Gavin could play his way into another Will Smith type scenario where he breaks down the door on his arrival and becomes a must-start for the Dodgers.
If the talented youngster struggles then keep him on the bench and keep giving Chris Taylor the most at-bats of the second baseman. This is a situation the Dodgers can only gain from. Stay status quo or pick up a bottle of lightning for another World Series run. After all, come October there are always a few players that step up and become an unexpected hero.