Last season, Gavin Lux came into his own batting at or near the bottom of the Dodgers lineup. Other than a tiny sample size at leadoff (in which he went 2-for-2 with a double), Lux’s best numbers came in the eighth and ninth slots in the lineup.
Lux, of course, has the tools to bat at the top of an order, with a good on-base percentage and excellent speed. But according to Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts, talking to the media from Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, on Friday, Gavin is likely to remain lower in the lineup in 2023.
Sometimes in Little League, a coach will bat the worst hitter on the team in the bottom spot in the lineup, but he’ll lie to the kid about the reasons to make him feel better. “You’re our second leadoff man,” he’ll say, hoping the kid isn’t smart enough to see through the ruse.
But in Lux’s case, he really does fill that “second leadoff man” role pretty well. LA leadoff hitter Mookie Betts drove in 82 runs last year, and 11 of them were Lux. Nine of Trea Turner’s 100 RBIs were Lux, and 17 of Freddie Freeman’s 100 RBIs were also Lux. Before a neck injury slowed him down at the end of the season, Lux had a .373 on-base percentage, and he was doing an outstanding job setting things up so the big three at the top of the order could knock them down.
The top of LA’s order will look different in 2023 without Trea Turner, but the group of Betts, Freeman, Will Smith, JD Martinez, and Max Muncy still has the potential to drive in a lot of runs, which means Lux getting on base from the bottom of the order could be huge.
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