Draft Preview: Gavin Lux - Indian Trail Academy (Kenosha, Wisconsin)

Gavin Lux

School: Indian Trail Academy (Kenosha, Wisconsin)
Position: SS
Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180 lbs
B/T: L/R
D.O.B: 10/23/1997 (18)
Commitment: Arizona State University

2016 Stats: incomplete and mostly unimportant

Scouting Reports:

“In what is widely considered a banner year in the Midwest, Wisconsin prep shortstop Gavin Lux … is the top infield prospect in the region this year. He’s a slick-fielding, quick-twitch shortstop with a chance to develop into a true five-tool player. Lux was certainly in the picture before the spring, but as the Wisconsin weather heated up, so too did Lux’s draft stock.

Lux has a professional attitude and demeanor. Scouts and coaches rave about his makeup. And for as exciting as his character and work ethic are, he’s able to match them with his tools. The circumstances surrounding Lux’s development to this point aren’t exactly normal. He’s had quality coaching and exposure to the type of competition that few cold-weather players have the opportunity to see. He’s been nurtured into a top prospect.

Lux’s hitting ability will be the biggest question for him to answer at the next level. He had a strong spring against Wisconsin prep pitching, but how Lux meets the challenges of next-level pitching will dictate his ultimate ceiling. On the showcase circuit, Lux was prone to swing and miss as he caught up to the speed of the game, and it remains to be seen how his added strength and bat speed will impact him when it comes time to play at the next level. As an athletic shortstop with good intangibles, he has a relatively high floor, though there is risk with any high school player.” – Hudson Belinsky, Baseball America

“Lux has advanced instincts in all phases of the game. His tools are catching up, as he has improved his strength, swing, speed and arm in the last year. He has worked to eliminate a hitch in his left-handed stroke, which has enough bat speed and leverage to produce 15 homers per year.

After previously seeming destined for second base, Lux now should be able to remain at shortstop. His arm strength and speed are at least solid — some evaluators grade them as pluses — and he has reliable hands. He’s committed to Arizona State but figures to get drafted too early to make it to Tempe.” – MLB.com profile

“Lux has picturesque infield footwork and actions befitting a major league shortstop. He takes aggressive but efficient routes to ground balls and has a lightning quick glove-to-hand transfer. He sets his feet quickly to throw from a platform, which will allow him to make accurate throws. The arm strength isn’t no-doubt, left-side-of-the-infield arm strength and is closer to average, but we think more is coming and it should be enough for short once the cement is dry on the body.

He has 30 raw power right now and would almost certainly have to stick at short to carve out any kind of major league role with that kind of pop. A quick-twitch athlete with some strength to his hands, Lux has some excessive noise in his swing right now that could make it hard for him to hit better velocity than he sees in Wisconsin. He looked overmatched at times during showcases against elite prep pitching. He has good feel for timing and for generating loft, despite a conservative, flat swing path.” – Keith Law, ESPN

Scouting Grades:

Note: These grades are summations based on available scouting information from sources such as Baseball America, MLB.com, and ESPN…

Hit: 45/60
Power: 40/50
Run: 55
Field: 50/60
Throw: 40/50
FV: 55

Prospect Overview and Future Outlook:

Lux had the luxury of developing under the tutelage of his uncle, Augie Schmidt, a former 2nd overall MLB draft pick. He’s spent time in specialized camps and getting playing time in warmer climes, so he’s benefitted from opportunities most Midwestern ballplayers don’t get. He’s also complimented regularly for his professional approach – these factors are all related. So in overall picture, Lux gives you more maturity than many of his fellow 18-year olds.

Lux’s glove is his current carrying tool, with multiple outlets loving his actions on the field. As the season went on, more scouting types feel he has a good chance to stick at shortstop, which has significant value and partially explains his rise. But his arm is rated out as fringy to average for the left side of the infield, so that will be a test for him and could potentially make him a second baseman at some point. His speed is above average but not spectacular and isn’t likely to project past that, which also factors into his future at short.

When it comes to hitting, reports are divergent. Just looking at the quotes above, you’ve got one evaluator saying he’s got just 30-grade raw power, and another saying he’s got 15 HR-rate potential (which grades out more 50-55). For the hit tool, he’s made changes this year that have substantially improved his swing and approach, and already had good balance and bat speed. But he also has had trouble against elite same-age pitching in showcases (which are by nature a very small sample). The fact that he hits in a high school conference that isn’t terribly strong for baseball means any in-game looks need to be carefully evaluated. The best case is a smooth hitter with slightly above average power, but the floor is below MLB-grade. This is why his hit tool grade range as noted above has a substantial gap between PV and FV.

Draft Day:

Lux has been shooting up draft boards this spring. After being more of a 3rd round projection after his junior year, he’s now seen almost universally as a 1st round pick. Mock drafts have had him ranging from the teens to the 30’s overall, but he could go even higher. There’s definitely some hold-your-breath to this kind of pick, but the talent with the stick and the glove are hard to ignore.

The White Sox had him in for a workout for them recently at The Cell, so he’s certainly on their radar. The question is, are they hoping he falls to the 26th pick? Or do they perhaps consider reaching for him at 10th, and grabbing an overslot player at 26? He seems to be a “tweener” where the Sox’ first two picks are concerned, but his talent level better slots to 26th. He’d be a reach at 10, so if you see the Sox go that way, expect a tough-sign over-slot player at 26.

***Matt Cassidy contributed to this report***

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