Dodgers: Why is Gavin Lux hitting better when playing shortstop?

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 31: Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his home run during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 31: Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates his home run during the second inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on May 31, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /
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The Los Angeles Dodgers have been without Corey Seager for a while and that will continue as he recovers from the broken hand he suffered after getting hit by a pitch.

In his stead, Gavin Lux has been filling in at shortstop, and it’s been going pretty well. He’s made just two errors in 161 innings of work on defense. Since May 15, he’s been the Dodgers’ everyday shortstop, and we’ve also seen his offensive numbers enjoy a boost.

Entering May 15, Lux was hitting .235 with an OPS of .593. Since then? He’s upped his average to a more tolerable .241 and he’s now OPSing .683 after an 0-for-4 night on Tuesday.

It’s safe to say he’s been better over the last two weeks.

And if you look at his career splits as a hitter between shortstop and second base, it’s night and day.

What gives?

Gavin Lux is a better hitter as a shortstop. What’s the deal, Dodgers fans?

His two homers against the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday night certainly helped, but this has largely been his best two weeks as a hitter in 2021.

Lux has only played in a career 83 games, but here’s the difference the difference in production at the plate between the two positions:

  • 64 games at second base – .222/.273/.367 with 29 runs scored, 6 home runs and 28 RBI
  • 20 games at shortstop – .265/.338/.485 with 11 runs scored, 4 home runs and 14 RBI

Not the biggest of sample sizes, we get it, but something seems to be afoot! Lux has played 299 games at shortstops in the minors compared to just 79 games at second base. Maybe he just feels more comfortable at his natural position?

But there’s nothing the Dodgers could’ve really done. Seager has been entrenched as the starter and Lux had a .937 fielding percentage at short during his minor league career. Moving him to second base for the time being was a no-brainer.

At the very least, if the Dodgers can’t retain Seager after 2021 when he enters free agency for the first time in his career, they at least know Lux might see his offensive stock increase if he can take over at shortstop.

In the meantime, we’ll monitor this up until Seager’s return, which should be at least another month away. That’ll give us more data in comparing Lux at both positions, and then when he finishes the season up at second base, we can draw an even more worthwhile conclusion.

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