Dodgers: Comparing Gavin Lux with Ghosts of Playoffs’ Past

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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Gavin Lux #48 after hitting a two-run home run in the top of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 29, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 29: Will Smith #16 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Gavin Lux #48 after hitting a two-run home run in the top of the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 29, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 02: Gavin Lux #48 of the Los Angeles Dodgers hits a single to center field in the second inning of the MLB game against the Colorado Rockies at Dodger Stadium on September 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /

Room for Improvement-

All professional athletes strive to get better, stronger, faster, smarter.

Given what Gavin Lux has shown the world thus far, it’s obvious that this temporarily burdensome mini-slump is probably driving him nuts.

I’ve got good news.

Ironically one of the most impressive attributes Lux brings to the box may be what’s prolonging his mini-slump: his unbelievably mature eye.

The kid lays off pitches only a certain few can, young and old. The balance between overcautiousness and knowing when not to swing can sometimes be more elusive than the Loch Ness Monster.

I believe Lux is currently battling to find that balance.

Over his 82 MLB plate appearances Lux had an unreal ‘chase percentage,’ i.e., the percentage of swings the batter takes at balls out of the strike zone.

The fact that he’s only 21 years-old makes his 16% chase-rate even that much more impressive. To put that percentage into perspective, the MLB average chase-rate is 28.3%.

That’s twelve percent higher than the average MLB player. 82 plate appearances is a small sample-size indeed, however, given his age, it’s fair to assume that he is already on par with the elite eyes in baseball.

So what’s the problem?

His eye may be too good. The MLB average ‘swing-rate,’ or the percentage of times the hitter swings, is 46.6%. Gavin Lux’s swing-rate is 40.4%.

This difference in percentages may appear small to some but right now I believe Gavin Lux is simply being too passive at the plate.

It’s natural (especially as a leadoff or #2 hitter in the lineup) to want to see as many pitches as possible especially when taking pitches happen to also be one of your strongest talents.

However, the balance between taking pitches and swinging should be more equal than 40/60. Especially when you’ve got a hit-tool and power the likes of Gavin Lux.

It’s completely understandable to not want to mess up. However, if you don’t get the bat off your shoulders, you’ll never have the opportunity to fail or succeed.

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