It’s almost September and that means rosters are going to expand to allow 40 players to be on a major league roster. Dodgers’ top prospect Gavin Lux is knocking down the door for a call-up, but the team is reportedly undecided on promoting him.
They have said he will be with the team during September, it’s just a matter of whether he’ll be active and playing or just taxiing with the team and learning from the veterans.
— Oklahoma City Dodgers (@okc_dodgers) August 28, 2019
The case to promote Lux
You don’t need to think hard to find a reason why Lux deserves a September call-up. And it comes down to this: he is really good at baseball.
Through 448 minor league at-bats this season, Lux is hitting .350/.423/.616 with 26 home runs. Since his promotion to Triple-A, he’s posted an otherworldly .402/.486/.746 slash with 13 home runs in 189 at-bats.
The Dodgers’ first-round draft selection in 2016, Lux has all the talent needed to contribute right now and he could even earn a starting spot by the playoffs, just like Corey Seager did in 2015.
He has a major league ready bat, his defense has improved a lot this season, and he’s a good baserunner. There aren’t many players that are a complete package like he is.
If Lux was to win the starting second base job, it would allow Max Muncy to play first base and Cody Bellinger to move to the outfield, which would provide a major boost to the defense.
He might even provide a spark to a lineup that has struggled recently.
Lux was made untouchable in trade discussions for a reason, the Dodgers should give him the chance to show why. He has definitely earned it with his production.
The case against a promotion
While it isn’t the exciting move, there is some logic behind not promoting Lux.
To start with, expectations need to be tempered. Although the Dodgers have found success recently, not every prospect is immediately going to be a top player at their position. They’ve already seen Joc Pederson, Walker Buehler, and Alex Verdugo struggle in their September call-ups.
Sure, Lux might follow the Seager path by earning a playoff spot in a month, but the Dodgers roster was a lot weaker when Seager did that. Jimmy Rollins was their starting shortstop and he wasn’t the Rollins you might remember from Philadelphia. In other words, it isn’t as likely that Lux wins a starting job.
The Dodgers already have an idea of what their roster will look like in October and their roster is very deep with talent.
Will Smith, Bellinger, Muncy, Seager, Justin Turner, Chris Taylor, and A.J. Pollock are locks to make the roster, barring any injuries. Verdugo and David Freese will be there if they’re healthy. Matt Beaty has made a strong case and probably will make it. And as much as people might not like it, Kiké Hernández and Pederson will likely be on the roster. That’s 12, plus one of Russell Martin or Austin Barnes, which gives them a total of 13 hitters, what they normally carry in October.
Lux has an uphill battle to make the roster over any of those players. It wouldn’t benefit them to take away at-bats of players who are getting ready for the postseason. Of course, injuries could happen, but they still have Kristopher Negron, Jedd Gyorko, Edwin Rios, and Kyle Garlick who could all fill a bench role if needed.
It might benefit the team just to let him learn and soak in all the information he can while not facing high expectations in a playoff race. After all, he’s just 21-years-old, so there is no reason to rush his development.
Lux deserves the chance to help the team. He has put in all the work and the results are there. While I don’t expect him to come in and take a starting role, it wouldn’t shock me if he did with all the talent he has.
While there is a fair case to not promote him, the possible negatives don’t outweigh the possible reward.
Lux should be with the Dodgers on September 1st, starting at second base.