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Dodgers: Please, Don’t Platoon Gavin Lux

Why hamstring his development?

One of the bigger stories from all the trade rumors the Dodgers were involved with was the insistence that they would not trade Gavin Lux. Even when the name of Francisco Lindor was rumored, the Dodgers weren’t going to trade Lux.

Clearly, the Dodgers think very highly of him. Almost every prospect ranking has him as one of the top two to three prospects in baseball. Yet, when he was brought up in September of 2019, he started 19 games but only two against a left-handed starter. The Dodgers clinched the division early yet they pretty much platooned Lux.

For the sake of argument, I am making an assumption that Lux will have a good spring and will break camp with the Dodgers. This article will look at some reasons why the Dodgers should not begin the season by platooning Gavin Lux.

2019 Minor League Numbers

While Gavin Lux started to blossom in 2018 he kicked it up to another level in 2019. He went from being the 82nd ranked prospect after 2018, according to MiLB Pipeline, to the 2nd overall prospect in baseball at the end of 2019.

Let’s look at his splits for the 2019 season at all levels.

Level Pitcher AB BB K AVG OBP SLG
AA vs LH 43 3 16 .279 .319 .419
AA vs RH 216 25 44 .319 .385 .542
AAA vs LH 42 6 14 .381 .458 .595
AAA vs RH 157 27 28 .395 .484 .752
MLB vs LH 12 0 4 .083 .083 .333
MLB vs RH 63 7 20 .270 .343 .413

As it can be seen in AA he was decent against lefties but the on-base and power numbers aren’t very close to his numbers against righties. In AAA the numbers from both types of pitchers were much closer. Lux only had 12 at-bats in the Major Leagues so the sample size is almost worthless.

The Concern

The Dodgers have a lot of talent for the 2020 season. One issue with having a lot of talent is the Dodgers want to not let anyone rot on the bench. I have no problem with taking that approach.  It has so much talent that it is possible that Gavin Lux could not open the season on the Major League roster if he has a bad Spring Training. However, even if this happens I would anticipate the same issues when he does make the team.

What I fear is that the management of the Dodgers will sacrifice at-bats for Lux against left-handers in the name of keeping everyone active. How the heck would he ever learn to hit lefties if he does not face them? It would be absurd to stunt the growth of the number 2 prospect in baseball in the name of getting everyone more playing time. Even further, in an easy division, why platoon him and stunt his development?

Some Possible Solutions

  • It could be that Gavin Lux goes back down to AAA for part of the season.
  • The Dodgers could go towards a more traditional lineup. The only place they should platoon is in left field with Joc Pederson and A.J. Pollock.
  • Rest Lux once a week without regard to the starting pitcher. The Dodgers should easily win the division and there should not be any urgency to platoon other than left field.

Further thinking about the team leads me to think that there is no reason to continue the moving around of any of the main starters. Here is the initial starting lineup I see on Opening Day.

  • C – Will Smith
  • 1B – Max Muncy
  • 2B – Gavin Lux
  • SS – Corey Seager
  • 3B – Justin Turner
  • LF – Joc Pederson/A.J. Pollock
  • CF – Cody Bellinger
  • RF – Mookie Betts

The bench would consist of:

  • Austin Barnes – C, 2B
  • Chris Taylor – 2B, SS, OF
  • Kiké Hernandez – Infield/Outfield
  • Matt Beaty – 1B, 3B, LF

I would give each starter one game off per week but have them available for pinch-hitting. Will Smith, the catcher will need more days off. I would not have the starters shift around positions. The bench has talented players that should get 1-2 starts per week and enter other games in the later innings as the situation requires.

The Risk Is Low

Giving Gavin Lux a full opportunity to face left-handed pitching is a very low-risk gamble. He is well regarded for his work at the plate.

“He has a real maturity in the batter’s box I don’t think I’ve ever seen from someone that age.”  - Andrew Friedman as quoted in the LA Times

With an advanced approach and an increasingly impactful swing, Lux projects as a consensus plus hitter with a chance to approach .300 in his best years and 20 or more home runs per season. - Baseball America

His first Major League home run was off of a lefty, Tanner Scott and the pitch Lux hit was a 99 MPH fastball.

Again, the Dodgers should easily win the division and there should be plenty of room to let Lux deal with the highs and lows of a baseball season. Dealing with various types of pitching is just another aspect of letting Lux develop.

Final Thoughts

Given that the Dodgers do the right thing and don't platoon Gavin Lux then it is up to him to prove himself. If it gets towards the end of the season and he doesn't hit left-handers well then go ahead and platoon him. Do you recall the Dodgers ended up platooning Cody Bellinger at the end of 2018? Look what Bellinger did in 2019 as he adapted at the plate to lefties. If Lux goes that route then that would be fine.

The Dodgers are a very smart organization and it would not surprise me if the Dodgers play Lux as the full-time second baseman right out of the box in 2020. Really, if they even have a notion of platooning him, then they should have traded him for Lindor. Turning him into a platoon player lowers his current value and his future value to the team. Gavin Lux can be a star so the Dodgers should give him every opportunity to fulfill his potential.

NEXT: Do the Dodgers Have Any Weaknesses?

Written by Tim Rogers

A fan of the Dodgers since 1973 since I got my first baseball cards while living in Long Beach. I came to San Diego for college and never left nor did I ever switch my Dodgers' allegiance. Some know me as the "sweater guy". #ProspectHugger

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  1. Lux had a 240 BA and a 305 OBA last year. These are not good numbers, even though they came almost entirely against RHP, who are the ones he should be able to hit best. How much worse would his numbers have been with a higher percentage of at bats against LHP. Why is everyone so eager to annoint Lux with star status, before he accomplishes anything? If you want to put him in the minor league HOF or the prospect HOF go ahead. But to be just an everyday player at the MLB level, he’s going to have to actually contribute, and put up some real numbers. I would still trade him for Lindor. Lindor at short, Seager to third, Turner to first, and Muncy to second. Then I would employ the philosophy of minimum platooning, since Lindor is a switch hitter who would clearly play everyday, providing a big offensive and defensive boost.

  2. They’re going to ruin his development like they did with Pederson. They will make him into a guy that can’t hit lefties. The only platoon spot this year should be LF there’s no justification this year with this stacked lineup. Off days for Seager Lux Bellinger and Betts should get Hernandez and Taylor enough at bats and you know Pollock and Seager will land on the DL eventually giving those guys more opportunities

    • Mookie Betts batting 9th? What kind of wacky weed are you smoking? An MVP winner doesn’t bat 9th. These types of articles are fake news and pure fiction.

      • Joseph I think you are smoking something, because anyone that read that knows it wasn’t his suggestion of a batting order, only a position breakdown. Don’t be so eager to call people out on the internet man.

  3. Right on Don, because the Dodgers have been known to hinder a player’s development because of platooning and also because of the constant lineup and position shuffling around.
    “It would be absurd to stunt the growth of the number 2 prospect in baseball in the name of getting everyone more playing time. Even further, in an easy division, why platoon him and stunt his development?”
    Don, as far as I am concerned this is what has contributed to the October choking by the offense. But then again, the pitching , when it comes to October cannot keep the baseball in the yard. Granted, in the 2019 regular season, believe it or not, Dodger pitching allowed the fewest HR’s with 185. That tells ya how HR’s have taken over the game for now.

    • AZUL, finally another poster (directly above) who feels the same way about platooning as we do. Allow Lux to play as many games as he can barring lethargy, illness, and emergencies. I was reading on this website the other day that one Dodger officials stated that May might go back and forth between the minors and the big club. For gosh sakes already, lets stop this platooning nonsense. Again, I fully expect to win the division, and go deep into division play. But I want to see a daily lineup with as few changes as possible. Go Blue!!!!

      • BLUE LOU! I too want to see a more set lineup against all comers, but don’t hold your breath. My far is that Roberts will lead off with Betts against LHP, but will again go with Joc against RHP, if Joc is still on this team. IDK but I hope not to see that. And also consider that both Joc and Pollock arte not too keen on being platooned in LF so wss.

  4. “Turning him into a platoon player lowers his current value and his future value to the team. Gavin Lux can be a star so the Dodgers should give him every opportunity to fulfill his potential.”
    This may be a fear that perhaps many of us fans have. So hopefully Lux can become the star they think he will be but then HE MUST BE ALLOWED to develop his skills against all comers.

    • Paul, I think the Dodgers open their exhibition schedule this weekend. It will be interesting to see how Roberts handles the team. I am hopeful, but both of us have been hopeful before – only to be disappointed by managerial incompetence. Lets see what happens!!!! Go Blue!!!

  5. I wish Lutz the best. The kid can flat out play some defense, and that alone is reason to not platoon him! Since half the staff doesn’t throw over early 90 ‘ s the ball will be in play quite often. We need his D everyday!

  6. Agree whole heartedly! Dodger management brought up a player who hit .232 with 1 HR in 71 AB’s once. The next year he batted .318, was ROY, and ended up in the Hall of Fame. Mike Piazza. They should take a look at that.

  7. this is ultimately up to Lux himself. I have no doubt that he will be given plenty of rope. What he does with it is up to him.

    Fyi, i despise platoons but any player can work off the field to earn a shot at not platooning anymore.

    I don’t think Pollock is a platoon player. Maybe my fav Dodger is Pedersen but he is still not an option vs rhp. That could easily change as soon as this ST. But again the players need to earn it. That isn’t done only while playing. They need to put in the sweat off the field practicing.

  8. Lmao
    I agree but
    The funny thing is an article about it and fans that care about our team will sound off on it but you actually believe that money ball front office gives a ship about what the fans believe in what they think is right for the Dodgers or a young talented players development.

    That’s the joke of the lifetime.
    They are going to keep doing whatever they believe won them 106 last year and that will be the end of that

    But it was a funny joke

  9. We have no idea how lux will perform against big league pitchers. Give him a chance to prove himself. He us of the age when it is now or never ( look around at the young superstars). If he is another prospect flop, move on. We have lots of options. Being a top prospect means you have a chance. Nothing else. Having g said that I would be more concerned about smith. We have no depth at catcher at all.

  10. Great article! Time in, and Gavin Lux’s numbers will be stellar. If not, AAA play everyday will sort it out. Kid’s got a great future ahead.

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