It was another gorgeous day out at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. With the Dodgers taking on the Guardians on Wednesday afternoon, there were a few familiar faces in the lineup. One of those was Gavin Lux, who was patrolling left field in his first Cactus League appearance as an outfielder.
That goes back to last season when the Dodgers started to experiment with ways to get his bat into games. It went about as well as you would expect for a guy that had never played the outfield. Lux often looked like he struggled to gets reads, even with his incredible athleticism and jump.
But Dave Roberts wants that versatility from him, and getting reps during Spring Training will only help his chances. The Dodgers skipper spoke about him playing the outfield before the game, and what sort of edge that brings to the roster.
“It just adds to our versatility and makes him a more valuable baseball player. It didn’t even have to be sold to him. Gavin is a smart guy and understands that it gives him a chance to get more at-bats.”
The Dodgers have tried their best to give their once top prospect a runway to an everyday job. And while Lux has turned in some positive numbers at times, the results haven’t been there overall. That’s true on both sides of the ball.
But Doc hasn’t lost his faith in Gavin. When asked about the runway they’ve given him and how he’s panned out in the big leagues so far, Roberts expressed plenty of optimism for a guy that doesn’t quite have a spot.
“Number one, we see him as a very talented Major League ballplayer. Sometimes, it’s a victim of circumstance. Where we’re at, we have a different roster. …Him being open to the outfield is only going to make him a batter Major League player. But do I think he can be an everyday player in the big leagues? Yeah, absolutely.”
Lux slashed .242/.328/.364 in his third year at the big league level last season. He played in 102 games and complied 381 plate appearances, by far the most opportunity he’s had with the Dodgers. But a 91 wRC+ and down defensive metrics aren’t going to cut it for a team like this.
The talent is there and the potential certainly is. But Lux is going to need to find ways to force himself into this lineup in 2022, especially with how packed the position talent is.
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