2. Gavin Lux
Buoyed by the strength of his defense and versatility, Gavin Lux has looked a bit more like the player he was forecasted to be in 2019 in 2021, but there’s still a ways to go.
1.6 WAR as we near the break? Acceptable for a player many of us had written off as an above-average contributor (sorry, prospect appreciation is fickle). But for a bat-first player with demonstrable swagger, an 87 OPS+ is not going to cut it.
Lux’s largest moments have been loud, and 32 RBI from a middle infielder will certainly play in this day and age. On the whole, though, he’s been a below-league-average bat in a season full of those, and hasn’t justified the team’s long-term faith in his offense carrying the day, given ample opportunities to do so.
Is Lux still 23? Yes. We’re not writing him off. He’s an everyday player on a World Series favorite! No one is! We’d rather he be here than languishing at some sort of dreary Alternate Site. That said, other than a few shining moments, there hasn’t been much about his batted ball profile that’s blown us away thus far in 2021, and his middling exit velocities and poor barrel percentage (23rd percentile) tell the story better than we ever could.
Down the stretch, it would be nice to see more from a prospect deemed one of the top five commodities in the entire league. We’d like to see him excel at more than just sprint speed. He’s built for high-pressure moments, but we hope he embraces the other at-bats like they’re special, too.