Former top prospect struggles in major league small sample size becomes a post-hype breakout. Evaluations of minor league players do not always pan out in fantasy terms. Known as a poor defender, Gavin Lux hit his way to the majors fueled by a tremendous 49-game sample at Triple-A in 2019. However, it did not translate into success with the Dodgers.
Last year, he showed up to camp out of shape and never won the second base position the team planned on him winning. Instead, Lux headed to the alternate site and only appeared in 19 games hitting a paltry .175/.246/.349 with three home runs and a stolen base in the truncated season.
Even during his first major league sample, Lux struggled. Through 42 career contests, he's slashing .210/.278/.377 with 20 runs, five home runs, 17 RBI and three stolen bases. So why would one speculate on him late in 2021 drafts?
He's an imperfect player, no doubt. However, check out his statistics from the top levels of the minors:
-- Double-A: 92 games, 411 plate appearances, 66 runs, 17 home runs, 46 RBI, nine stolen bases; .316/.384/.514, 14.2 BB%, 19.5 K%
-- Triple-A: 49 games, 232 plate appearances, 54 runs, 13 home runs, 39 RBI, three stolen bases; .392/.478/.719, 10.2 BB%, 18.1 K%
Due to his limited exposure to the majors, using his career numbers from Statcast helps widen the net of numbers. He's recorded 95 batted ball events with the Dodgers with six barrels (6.3 percent), an average exit velocity of 88 MPH and a 33.7 hard hit rate. His expected batting average of .244, an expected slugging of .397 and expected weighted on-base average of .308 (16 points over his actual) provide glimmers of hope.
His spray chart suggests Lux can drive the ball well to all fields with some opposite field power lying in wait:
Almost a forgotten commodity in fantasy this season, second base gets a bit deeper if taking a potential breakout season by Lux could be in the offing. Especially given his hitting environment and surrounding lineup insulating his counting statistics. Since he owns a lower average draft position, he's fungible. If punting the position, why not do so on a player who could pay off handsomely at a depressed price point?
It appears the projection sets remember his top prospect status. Take note of the power with some pocket speed in his numbers:
Then factor in the projections not viewing him as a full-time player. There's a very real chance Lux not only starts for the Dodgers, he could hit 20 home runs with double digit stolen bases in 2021. While his counting statistics may not be elite, they do not need to be since he's taken past pick 225 according to the aggregate draft data on Fantasy Pros.
Whether he's an upside middle infield target or a second baseman with potential profit value, targeting Lux as a late round flier makes perfect sense. In these imperfect times, maybe going against the grain makes even more sense. Knowing late round pivots prevents tilting, so if second base gets away, remember to put Lux in the queue.
THE BAT and THE BAT X courtesy of Derek Carty
ATC courtesy of Ariel Cohen
ZiPS courtesy of Dan Szymborski