Lux living large at plate for Drillers

Dodgers No. 2 prospect records four hits in second straight

Gavin Lux leads the Texas League in total bases (95) and runs scored (34) this season. (Tim Campbell/MiLB.com)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | May 24, 2019 1:43 AM

The morning after almost every game, Gavin Lux trades texts with his uncle, Augie Schmidt. The two exchange thoughts about every at-bat, with Schmidt offering pointers and valuable coaching. 

Earlier this week, the second-ranked Dodgers prospect wanted to talk about his four consecutive one-hit games. Fast forward a few days and Lux collected four hits for the second consecutive night as Double-A Tulsa rolled to an 8-3 victory over Northwest Arkansas on Thursday at ONEOK Field. He belted his Texas League-leading 11th homer and scored three times.

"I was frustrated that I kept getting one hit -- 1-for-4, 1-for-5 -- and I'm like, 'Man, I can't find that second hit.'" Lux said. "He was like, 'Man, it looks like you're trying to do too much with some pitcher's pitches.' For me, that was a good cue not to do too much. That helped a lot, just hearing that from him." 

Video: Drillers' Lux goes oppo for solo homer

Lux struck out on three pitches to lead off the first inning against right-hander Conner Greene. It proved to be the only time the Naturals got him out Thursday.

MLB.com's No. 43 overall prospect jumped back into his groove by leading off the third with a single up the middle. With two men on one inning later, Lux lined another single to center field to load the bases. Both times, third baseman Angelo Mora drove him home. 

"Mechanically, [I'm] pretty much leaving it as it is and just focusing on gameplan and approach, like we always talk about," he said. "Just getting some pitches to hit and trying not to miss it. That's kind of the biggest thing." 


Gameday box score


Facing right-hander Andres Sotillet in the sixth, the 20th overall pick in the 2016 Draft stayed back on the hanging breaking ball and drove it over the left-field wall.

"I hit two fastballs pretty well [earlier]," Lux said. "I talked to my hitting coach [Adam Melhuse] before that, and I was like, 'Man, I think he's going to throw a breaking ball. I'm just going to sit on it here.' He agreed with me. He was like, 'Even if he throws you a heater, it's 0-1, no big deal.'"

Instead of the count being 0-1, the score became 8-1. 

"Honestly, I was just sitting on it," he said. "It's always good to feel that." 

Lux ripped his third single of the game up the middle in the eighth and raised his average to .329 following his scorching games. Prior to Wednesday's contest in Springfield, he was batting .297.

Schmidt can claim some credit when it comes to Lux's 10-game hitting streak. The Blue Jays drafted him second overall in 1982, but he never reached the Major Leagues and retired four years later. He's been the head coach at Carthage College in the family's hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin, since 1988. 

"He's my go-to guy for hitting," Lux said. "He's coached me since I was 5 years old. He knows my swing the best." 

The No. 6 shortstop prospect recorded his first four-hit game on May 11, 2017 for Class A Great Lakes in Clinton. He also had four hits with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga on June 11, 2018 at Lake Elsinore. Those came 13 months apart, but he only needed approximately 36 hours for the next two. On Wednesday, Lux went 4-for-5 with a homer and two doubles.

In 2017 -- Lux's first full season in the Minors -- the 21-year-old compiled a slash line .244/.331/.362. Looking to live up to expectations in his second year, he hit .324 with a .913 OPS and a career-high 15 home runs between Rancho Cucamonga and a late-season promotion Tulsa. 

"I think it got my feet wet. That was good for me, to get a taste of that for the last month or so," he said. "Your pitchers are a little better. You don't get as many mistakes. You just kind of have to have a better gameplan and preparation before the game. Pretty much the cliche stuff, but it's pretty true. Talking to some older guys, preparation and gameplan are two pretty big things and two things guys don't talk about enough.

"Everyone says the biggest jump is [Class A Advanced] to Double-A, outside of obviously getting to the big leagues. Going there, being able to perform pretty well, gives you a little extra bit of confidence like, 'Yeah, I can at this level and play with these guys.' It feels good, definitely. It feels good." 

Tulsa has a number of several highly touted Dodgers prospects in its dugout, including catcher Keibert Ruiz and right-handed hurler Dustin May, who are 32nd and 62nd respectively ranked in the overall Top 100. 

2019 MiLB include

"Everyone pushes each other and everyone wants to become the best player possible," Lux said. "Anytime you can have guys like that on your team, that are just as good as pretty much anybody in baseball, it helps you elevate your game." 

This year, the power has been more present in his game as he's on pace to set a personal best in the homer department. He exited Thursday's game with a .985 OPS, which also leads the circuit and is boosted by a .601 slugging percentage. 

"Just continuing to stick with my routine and every day just go out there and be the same guy, whether you get four hits or go 0-for-4," the 2018 MiLB.com Organizational All-Star said. "Just try to be the best teammate possible and continue to work on defense. I know there's still plenty of things that I need to get a lot better at." 

Mora finished with three hits, including a triple, and three RBIs. 

Royals No. 2 prospect Khalil Lee walked, doubled and scored once for the Naturals. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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