Among the many rookies to make an impact for the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2019 season was top prospect Gavin Lux, who slugged his way at a historic pace in the Minors to eventually earn an MLB promotion at the start of September.
Prior to his breakout campaign, Lux was one of a handful of Minor League players to receive a non-roster invitation to Spring Training this year. He received an early taste of the Major League lifestyle, but it didn’t come without some growing pains along the way.
Lux batted just .150/.190/.300 in 10 Cactus League games, but the bulk of his woes stemmed from the defensive side of things. Specifically, the 21-year-old struggled with making his throws to first base after fielding ground balls in numerous practices.
It was concerning to say the least, as entering the year, Lux had committed 61 errors in 208 career Minor League games at shortstop. However, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts maintained confidence that the young infielder would eventually snap out of his funk.
When reflecting on his case of the yips from earlier this season, Lux explained how he moved on and is in a better place to consistently make this throws around the infield, via Pedro Moura of The Athletic:
“It’s all in your head, man,” Lux said. “If I throw it as hard as I can and it goes 10 rows deep, at least I made an aggressive mistake instead of a cautious one. It’s way better now. I’m so much more confident. If you hit it at me now, you’re out. That’s the whole thought process.”
Lux entered the 2019 season as the starting shortstop for Double-A Tulsa, where he went on to make 10 errors at the position in 55 games. He remained there for most of his stay with Triple-A Oklahoma City and enjoyed better results, accumulating only three errors in 36 games.
Despite playing shortstop for the majority of his Minor League career, Lux exclusively lined up at second base during his time with the Dodgers. Scouts had long anticipated he would transition there due to previous mechanical concerns.
In 22 games at the position, he posted a .970 fielding percentage while only being charged with two errors. Lux exceeded expectations and was included on the Dodgers’ National League Division Series roster, where he started at second base in two of the five games.