Gavin Lux
Is it too soon to declare Gavin Lux a bust? The former Dodgers’ top prospect has failed to live up to expectations at the big league level. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports)

Is It Too Soon To Declare Gavin Lux A Bust?

A lot of baseball fanatics are obsessed with prospect rankings, but the truth of the matter is, even most of the highly ranked one’s are coin flips at best. You never truly know how a prospect will perform until they actually reach the show. So far… Not so good when it refers to Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux. The truth of the matter is, he’s running out of time as that former top prospect shine is starting to wear off quickly.

Lux, 23, was ranked as the second best prospect in baseball during the 2019 campaign. Lux tore the cover off the ball in the minors, but that success has not translated to the major league level. During the first half of the 2021 season, Lux is sporting a batting line of .233/.316/.355. The power numbers are minuscule, hitting just six homers and notching an OPS+ of 88.

Lux is still a young player, but it’s officially time to start hitting the panic button. In 400 career at-bats, Lux is hitting .225. That’s not a small sample size. He’s now spent time with the big league club in three different seasons and has failed to make a major impact.

The underlying metrics on Lux scream serious red flags. Lux’s barrel percentage ranks in the bottom 20th percentile. His xSlug number ranks in the bottom 34th percentile. A slugging percentage of .350 on fastballs is downright ugly. Lux’s whiff rate, walk, and K rate seem to be improving over time but only marginally. The only metric Lux fares well in is sprint speed, but it’s only translated into three stolen bags.

It was officially time to do some digging. Why was Lux struggling? What the hell is going on here? More often than not, the knees tell the story. They most certainly do here.

When you watch Lux, while there is a knee bend, it looks super unnatural. His ass is way out and not in line. The timing is super weird. There’s not just one leg kick. There’s an additional step mixed in with the leg kick. The hands couldn’t be less tied to his legs. There’s no drive in the lower half. It’s dead arm swing flying out at the ball.

I’m not going to pretend to be a swing doctor, but I know what an athlete looks like when I see when. This swing ain’t it. The most damaging number of all is his average launch angle of just 11 degrees. That essentially means most of Lux’s contact is hit on the ground, which is what the eye test sort of tells you from the way his swing is designed.

Launch angle doesn’t mean everything (it might not mean anything), but when it’s a flawed swing mixed in with weak contact, you get the numbers that Lux is producing. The Dodgers infielder isn’t a small guy at 6-foot-2, but he’s certainly not built like a brick shit house. Lux is not a powerful enough guy to get away with this swing at the major league level.

Look, it’s probably still too early to totally write Gavin Lux off as a full blown disaster. However, it’s probably time to readjust expectations and get back to the drawing board with the mechanics. Part of the reason why Jeter Downs was included in the Mookie Betts trade package was the belief that Lux was already a ready made star at second base. If the Dodgers want to repeat as World Series champs, Lux needs to start living up to his potential.

Check out Peri Goodman’s Store for custom stickers!