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Should the Dodgers Try Gavin Lux in the Outfield?

The Dodgers top prospect could be adding a new piece to his game.

Gavin Lux leads off third base at Dodger Stadium.

Since Andrew Friedman took over as President of Baseball Operations in 2014, building a roster with versatility has been one of his biggest priorities. While some positional switches have failed, like moving Joc Pederson to first base, some have been instrumental to the Dodgers’ success, such as putting Cody Bellinger in center and sliding Max Muncy from first to second base.

His next potential experiment: moving Gavin Lux to the outfield.

With Max Muncy, Corey Seager, and Justin Turner penciled in as infield starters next year, only one spot is left open on the diamond. And with Cody Bellinger and Matt Beaty getting occasional starts at first, along with the Dodgers’ possible pursuit of free agent Anthony Rendon, it may pique the Dodgers’ interest to get Gavin Lux playing some outfield. 

Lux has no outfield experience across any level in the minor leagues, but he does have an unteachable skill that would greatly help him out there: speed. Lux ranked in the 90th percentile in BaseballSavant’s Sprint Speed, at 28.8 feet per second.

This innate trait could help Gavin cover plenty of outfield ground, making him an upgrade over slower outfielders, such as AJ Pollock and Joc Pederson. 

However, speed by itself does not automatically make for a good defensive outfielder. Just ask the Nationals or the Mariners, who tried converting speedy middle infielders Trea Turner and Dee Gordon into center fielders. The hope was that their elite speed would mask their poor jumps, but both experiments ended miserably. No matter how fast you are, if the route to the ball being taken is so poor, it will not matter.

This is the concern for Lux: instincts. Being someone with no outfield experience, it would be difficult for him to immediately start getting good jumps and running down balls that require perfect routes to get to. Lifelong outfielders still struggle with this.

That being said, it absolutely can be done. Ian Desmond was a lifelong shortstop until the Rangers switched him in 2016. While he has had his ups and downs, he has been about league average as a defender in left field, a mark the Dodgers would gladly take from Lux. In a more extreme example, Red Sox star Mookie Betts came up initially as a second basemen, but is now seen as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game. 

Simply put, some players are able to adjust almost seamlessly and the instincts come naturally, while some struggle. If Lux is one of the former, the Dodgers would greatly benefit from having the ability to move him to the outfield if the situation calls for it. Do not be surprised to see him getting some reps there this Spring. 

Written by Wyatt Asher

24 Comments

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  1. This is ludacris.. Flexibility as a positional player is good for the individual amd the team, But doing it backwards is not. Muncy is a true DH, up the middle is Vital in baseball. Moving a “corner infielder to 2B is bad enough. Moving a middle infielder to OF to solve a problem? Only compounding issues. I truly dislike Muncy at 2B. Moving Lux to accommodate is only making it worse. Potential trade rumors or deals can solve this but this team needs to be reconstructed period… it’s not working and this article is garbage…

  2. Dodgers would appear to have the outfield covered. Do you actually believe the Dodgers will sign Rendon? Really? I believe they will move Seager to 3rd full time in another year or so as they have Lux, Jeter Downs, Omar Estevez and others coming up to play 2nd and SS.
    The Dodgers do not need to add to the roster except with the Bull Pen.
    The Dodgers as they are right now will win the NL West and should be better than last years starting roster as they have improved at Catcher with Smith, Outfield with Verdugo hopefully full time and Seager a year out from his issues.
    The rotation will have some very young arms that should be outstanding. Urias will be able to start and pitch the entire year. People forget that Urias was rated higher than Buehler at one time.

  3. Sure, versatility/depth is the organization’s Holy Grail (even more than a WS title) and it wouldn’t hurt to see if Lux could play in the outfield, but given how hard it is to be a major league player, maybe we should just have some of them focus on playing one position AND hitting? Learning multiple positions has to take time away from hitting reps and the consistent thing we have seen the past three years is a team that pretty much stops hitting at some point in the playoffs. If Rendon – against all reasonable odds – were to fall in the Dodgers’ lap, then let’s see how we make that work. In the meantime, let’s mold Lux into something we really haven’t had for the past several years, a full-time, better than MLB average second baseman.

    • But…but…our depth! We need players to be so-so at all the position so we can substitute for our platooning. That’s what we are known for.

      • And it is important to be known for something besides not getting the job done in the post season!

    • Except Roberts is still the manager and this roster as is may not cut it in the PS. But maybe that’s why many have said Dodgers build themselves for the regular season but not built for the PS

      • They are still following the Tampa Bay model. They want to be consistently “good.” They are afraid to take the steps that will make them potentially “great.”

  4. Maybe, just maybe, we should focus on bunting, contact hitting and opposite field hitting. Crazy idea I know.

  5. NEED TO FOCUS ON HITTING. KAKI PLAYS A DAM GOOD 2ND BASE. STOP MOVING PLAYERS ALL AROUND, THEY WILL NOT GET GREAT @ ANY POSITION, ROBERTS SCREW UP , WILL SOME TEACH ROBERTS TO MANAGE PITCHERS,OR WE WILL HAVE THE OLD S***

    • Who is Kaki? And are you only the only person on the planet that doesn’t know, NOT to type in all caps?!

  6. This team is so exhausting just put guys where they should be stop trying to get cute so you can do your stupid platooning

  7. In the old days, when the roster was typically, four starting pitchers, six relievers and a seven player bench, versatility wasn’t as critical. Today, with carrying 13 pitchers and a four player bench, versatility is needed on the bench and with some starters. With that said leve Lux alone to play 2B and SS if needed.

      • SoCal, I wasn’t aware that MLB did a restriction to 13 pitchers on the 26 man roster. But 5 or 6 bench players is better than seeing Dodgers use up bench based upon moves by the 7th or 8th innings.
        And that 3 batter minimum reduces the revolving door of relievers for every batter. But if a reliever comes in with 1 out and enduces a DP, then he finishes inning and does not have to return in next inning to face 2 more batters.

  8. Max Muncy played some outfield for Oakland. I have no idea how well he performed. Lux being quicker than Muncy I would like to see Lux in the infield. Try Muncy in right field and if he does well he could play every day there.

  9. The Dodgers think they are cute doing this kind of thing. It’s not smart. Lux is coming on real well defensively so why change. Moving guys around and strict platooning is hurting some of the ability the players have. Compound that with the poor FA’s like Pollock and Kelly and you get squat. It absolutely killed us in the WS in 18. The Red Sox played that platoon stuff with precision and caught some players off guard with wrong splits and the Dodgers lost valuable at bats. Who knows? Maybe if Pederson hit vs everyone one day he could be a regular player and not have to sit so much. Maybe if Kiki played only second he would be the guy for that spot. He certainly is making some foolish errors being moved around in those shifts.

  10. Serious! You just make this stuff up in the off season? Our outfield is over crowded, we have no idea if lux is even a major league player at this point. Too much platooning as it is. If lux can’t play regular what’s the point. Good teams don’t platoon. Ie redsox, houston and Yankees . When your players are marginal you platoon.

  11. Trade Seager while he has big, overrated appeal and get pitching in exchange.

    Move Lux to SS. Turner to 2b. Muncy stays at 1b. Sign Rendon for 3b.
    Sign Cole.

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