The Los Angeles Dodgers have tapped Gavin Lux (26) as their new starting shortstop. Although the defense is famous for being unstable, the Dodgers boldly prepares a ‘shortstop Lux’ card.
According to the American ‘The Athletic’ on the 3rd (Korean time), Dodgers general manager Brandon Gomes said, “Right now, we are looking at Lux as our starting shortstop.” During a winter meeting last December, Dodgers president Andrew Friedman also dismissed concerns around him, saying, “Lux is a natural shortstop.”
The Dodgers changed their starting shortstop for three consecutive years. Corey Seager, who won the MVP by leading the World Series championship in 2020, transferred to the Texas Rangers as a free agent after the 2021 season. Last year, Trey Turner took over as the starting shortstop, but left the Dodgers this winter when he signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Dodgers, who had to find a new starting shortstop, seemed to find a breakthrough with the trade. In the middle of last month, they acquired Miguel Rojas through a trade with the Miami Marlins. Rojas is weak at hitting, but is recognized for his defense. Last year, he was a finalist for the National League Gold Glove shortstop category. The winner was Dansby Swanson (Chicago Cubs), but along with Kim Ha-seong (San Diego), he was among the three finalists. 안전놀이터
However, the Dodgers’ new starting shortstop was Lux, not Rojas. Prospect Miguel Vargas forms a keystone duo with Lux as second baseman. Max Muncy is in the third base hot corner without Justin Turner (Boston), and Rojas supports the entire infield with utility.
Right-handed and left-handed infielder Lux was a top prospect who was selected by the Dodgers with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 draft. He made his major league debut in 2019 and spent his first full season last year as the starting second baseman. He showed potential in batting with an OPS of .745 with a batting average of 2.745, 116 hits, 6 home runs and 42 RBIs in 129 games, but the defense was unstable.
He had nine errors in 819⅔ innings as a second baseman last year. With a fielding percentage of 97.3%, he was 16th out of 18 second basemen who have fielded 800 or more innings. The overall defense index UZR (Ultimate Zong Rating), which measures the success of defense after dividing the ground into several zones and assigning weight to each ball, is only 15th (-2.3).
It is unclear whether Lux, who was anxious at second base, can survive as a shortstop with a greater defensive burden. He played 68 career games (50 starts) as a shortstop, but his fielding percentage was 96.8%, lower than when he was a second baseman. However, the Dodgers believe in the process of developing him as a shortstop in the minor leagues. I wonder what the results will be from the Dodgers’ choice of ‘Doll Glove’ Lux over the Gold Glove candidate shortstop.