The Dodgers got a taste of the future late in 2019, but it could just be the tip of the iceberg. Infielder Gavin Lux has real breakout potential in 2020, and could even capture Rookie of the Year honors.
With the No. 20 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft, the Dodgers selected Wisconsin high schooler Gavin Lux and signed him to a $2.3 million bonus.
Since then, Lux has blasted through the Dodgers’ farm system, and was rewarded with a promotion to the big squad in September of last season.
In 23 games (82 plate appearances), Lux hit .240/.305/.400 with two home runs and nine RBI, with a 87 wRC+ and .301 wOBA. In the field, Lux recorded four defensive runs saved (DRS) in 178.0 innings at second base.
The 22-year-old cracked the Dodgers’ postseason roster and went 2-for-10 in the NLDS, but also rocked a home run.
While these numbers aren’t the most sexy, it’s a very small sample size and it’s also important to remember he now has a chance to play a full season and not bounce between three levels of play like he did last year.
What Makes Lux So Exciting?
It’s hard to ignore Lux’s potential.
At the time he was called up last year, Lux was hitting a whopping .392/.478/.719 with 13 home runs, a 188 wRC+ and .490 wOBA through 49 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City. This is par for the course for the infielder, who also slashed .313/.375/.521 at Double-A before that in 2019.
In fact, despite an aberration of a 2017 season at Single-A, Lux has hit at all levels since he became a professional. One has to figure that once he gets consistent reps at the MLB level this year, that will translate as well.
In the field, Lux is no slouch either, putting up the aforementioned four DRS in nearly 200 innings in 2019.
The Dodgers have a potent rotation headlined by Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw, and behind that, there always needs to be strong fielding up the middle. If Lux can build off his success in 2019 defensively, he will be a huge piece to Los Angeles’s success.
Let’s not forget that Lux is also only 22-years-old, and will be for the entirety of the 2020 season. If he breaks out, he will be a force to be reckoned with in the bigs for years to come.
It will be an important learning experience for Lux this season, but he will be in good company, as he will be sharing a locker room with a reigning MVP in Cody Bellinger and one of the best talents in the game in Mookie Betts among others.
Rookie of the Year?
It’s not a pipe dream to believe Lux could take home Rookie of the Year honors in 2020.
Lux is currently ranked as the No. 2 prospect on MLB Pipeline‘s Top 100, and a majority of the players around him on the list are likely not going to crack the show this year.
The closest competitor could actually be on his own team, as Dustin May, who also debuted in 2019, still has rookie limitations in tact for this season.
Beyond that, his competition could include San Diego Padres’ pitcher MacKenzie Gore (MLB Pipeline No. 5), who will likely begin the year in the minors but is projected to debut in 2020, Atlanta Braves’ outfielder Cristian Pache who is in the same boat as Gore, and Washington Nationals middle infielder Carter Kieboom who had a taste of the majors in 2019.
Of course, anything can happen and sleeper prospects can come up and leave an impact, but with Lux’s ceiling, he has to be viewed as an early front runner for the honors.