Gavin Lux Playing With ‘Mental Peace’ Thanks To Dodgers’ Trust
Gavin Lux
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Gavin Lux, the former top prospect who lit Triple-A Oklahoma City on fire before making his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019, has yet to fully show what he is capable of at the Major League level.

Of course, Lux is only 23 years old and still has a lot of time to reach his potential. The Dodgers know this, which is why they have stuck with him through both good and bad stretches — especially thus far in the 2021 season.

“It’s huge. We all know baseball is up and down, up and down,” Lux said. “You’re going to go through cold stretches and hot stretches, to have that mental peace to know you’re going to be out there pretty much every day and get a chance to figure it out, gives me a lot of mental peace.”

Heading into last season the Dodgers hoped Lux would take over as the everyday second baseman. However, after Opening Day was delayed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Lux reported late for Summer Camp and looked like a player who was lost on both sides of the ball.

“Last year definitely didn’t go how I wanted it to by any means,” Lux reiterated.

“But at the end of the day it was probably a good thing to learn how to deal with some stuff and failure. I think having that mental freedom that even if you struggle and go through some stretches, it’s alright because you’re going to still get the chance to play and figure it out.”

Lux ended up playing in only 19 of the 60 games and hit .175/.246/.349. He has been able to look back on his struggles from last season to help him get through his early-season struggles this year when he hit .179/.213/.250 with a 29 wRC+ in April.

“That was huge, being able to still get opportunities after that to perform and every chance to get out there and play” Lux acknowledged. “That means a lot that I was given that opportunity to continue to grind through some things and work through some things.”

Since the start of May, Lux has turned a corner, hitting .270/.340/.454 with a 122 wRC+ while playing above-average defense at shortstop. Because of his recent success, Lux has been able to spend more time working on his approach rather than his mechanics, which is where he wants to be.

“We always use the word ‘search.’ I don’t know if ‘searching’ is the right word, but just trying to feel as comfortable as possible and once you find it, maintaining it every day,” Lux explained.

“When you get in the cage, if you felt good the day prior, it’s figuring out why and then trying to build on that and continue to feel that. As we know, baseball is such a game of little adjustments. If we’re coming to town and playing somebody, we know how they pitch certain guys. There’s more adjustments on the approach side right now than mechanically, which is a good thing.”

Baseball is a game of rhythm. When you’re in rhythm, everything just seems to work out. So to help him stay in rhythm, Lux prioritizes watching video before the game and using the on-deck circle to help him find his timing before an at-bat.

“In my load, my hands start everything,” Lux said. “Kind of just watching video, figuring out when his hands break, when I need to get going, and then really the on-deck circle is a big part of that too.”

Lux taking care of his health

As Lux plays in his first 162-game season, learning best methods to keep healthy by staying on top of his body with a proper diet and enough sleep has been key.

“I just started wearing the Oura Ring, which tracks your sleeping recovery, how much you slept, how much REM sleep you got, your heartbeat and all that stuff pretty much throughout the day,” he said.

“So I’ve used that a lot, which has been a really good tool for me to track my recovery and workload. That’s been huge, and really just eating and trying to take care of your body in the training room and weight room as much as possible.”

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