Sept. 2: The move is official. Lux’s contract has been selected from Oklahoma City, with Tyler White (whose season is over) moving to the 60-day injured list to open a 40-man roster spot. The Dodgers also announced that they’ve reinstated lefty Julio Urias from the 60-day injured list and recalled right-hander Josh Sborz from Triple-A.
Sept. 1: The Dodgers are calling up star prospect Gavin Lux, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times). Lux will make his MLB debut tomorrow, starting at second base for the NL West leaders.
Max Muncy’s wrist fracture could have been the catalyst for the beginning of Lux’s time with the Dodgers, as Roberts said at the time that the club would “be more aggressive” with its September promotions if Muncy’s injury proved to be serious. While Muncy is only expected to miss around two weeks with his relatively minor fracture, that was still enough for L.A. to decide that more depth was required at second base.
Of course, it’s not as if Lux himself didn’t do everything he could to force the Dodgers’ hand. Lux has been nothing short of spectacular at Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, hitting .392/.478/.719 with 13 homers over 232 plate appearances. Even accounting for the extremely hitter-friendly conditions of the Pacific Coast League, the numbers were still astounding, and far from out of nowhere given Lux’s already-strong prospect status.
Selected as the 20th overall pick of the 2016 draft, Lux appeared on top-100 prospect lists (ranked 40th by Baseball America, 70th by MLB.com) prior to this season and zoomed up the various rankings as he continued to shred Triple-A pitching — the updated midseason ratings from Fangraphs, MLB.com, and BA all list Lux as the ninth-best prospect in baseball. As cited by the Fangraphs and MLB.com scouting reports, Lux’s hitting potential has been unlocked in the minors (even prior to 2019) by a number of swing changes, including more lift in his swing, as well as incorporating his hands and legs into his action at the plate.
Lux has played the majority of his games as a shortstop, but he also saw a lot of action at second base in preparation for fit into the lineup alongside stalwart Corey Seager in Los Angeles. It’s safe to assume that Lux will get the bulk of time down the stretch, as the Dodgers have the NL West long since wrapped up, and are now merely making adjustments for the playoffs. It certainly isn’t out of the question that Lux could force his way onto the postseason roster if he plays well in September, giving the Dodgers an embarrassment of depth once Muncy returns to their already-stacked roster.
Seager, Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, and rookie catcher Will Smith look to be the only true everyday players on a Dodgers team that prizes versatility. A.J. Pollock is more or less the regular center fielder and Muncy will presumbly return to regular duty at second or first base when he returns. Beyond those names, Los Angeles boasts the likes of Chris Taylor, Joc Pederson, Enrique Hernandez, Matt Beaty, David Freese, the currently-injured Alex Verdugo, Jedd Gyorko, Kristopher Negron, and now Lux to rotate into the starting lineup and as late-game subs to maximize their chances in various matchups.
Beyond just what Lux can do this season, of course, he also represents a major building block for the future. The Dodgers resisted all trade offers for Lux both this season and in past years, and it’s fair to guess that L.A. has him penciled in at second base for years to come.