GLENDALE, Ariz. – Dodgers' No. 4 prospect Gavin Lux was coming off of his first full season in 2017 and the results were uneven. He knew he was better than his .244/.331/.362 line indicated.
He also knew that he had the ability, with strength he had added since signing as a 2016 first-round pick out of the Wisconsin high school ranks, to drive the ball more. So he set to work on retooling his swing and not straying from it, rather than tinkering with his mechanics as he did throughout his year in the Midwest League.
“In 2017, I played with a ton of stuff during the season and it kind of messed with me mentally,” Lux said. “Once I kind of figured it out in the offseason going into last year, I was like ‘Man, I’m just going to stick with what I’m doing right now. It feels good, so I’m not going to tinker with my mechanics too much.’ That kind of helped to stay consistent and I could just worry about my approach and game plan going into the games and not worry about mechanics so much.”
Consistency in mechanics paid off. The middle infielder had a breakout season, finishing with a .324/.399/.514 line across the Class A Advanced California League and Double-A Texas League in 2018. He more than doubled his home run total from the previous year without sacrificing approach or racking up more strikeouts. And he capped things off by hitting .424 in the postseason and helping Tulsa win the Texas League title.
“A lot of this spring for me is just building and keeping that momentum going into this season,” Lux said. “I’m just kind of fine-tuning some things, keeping the same approach, making sure everything is in line, keeping the same feel as last year.”
It all begins with his setup at the start of his swing. The left-handed hitter does it a bit differently than many, but it helps him barrel up balls more consistently, especially compared to what he did as a younger hitter.
Lux is very in tune with the impact his left elbow has in making everything else work. With his new setup, he’s able to whip the barrel through the zone, all while keeping his legs under him longer, which has helped him tap into that strength for more extra-base pop.
Those changes, along with a bit more launch angle, led to the big uptick in his power numbers. In 2017, Lux had 29 extra-base hits. A year ago, he upped it to 50. Sticking with those mechanics all year allowed him to hit over .300 in every month but June, which was interrupted by a trip to the disabled list (and he still slugged .481 in 4 games that month). Needless to say, he’ll be carrying this swing with him into the 2019 season.