Dodgers do the rare thing, select shortstop Gavin Lux with 20th overall pick in MLB Draft

By Cary Osborne

The Dodgers selected high school shortstop Gavin Lux on Thursday with the 20th overall selection in the 2016 MLB Draft.

The Indian Trail Academy (Kenosha, Wisconsin) senior is committed to Arizona State.

This is the second time in the past 14 drafts that the Dodgers have selected a non-pitcher. The last time was Corey Seager in 2013.

The predraft rankings for Lux are as follows:

  • MLB.com: 33
  • Baseball America: 53
  • Keith Law/ESPN: 29

Lux, 18, is the first of four draft picks the Dodgers have today. They will also pick 32nd (compensation for Zack Greinke signing with the Arizona Diamondbacks), 36th (compensation for the Dodgers not signing Kyle Funkhouser, who was selected 35th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft) and 65th — their second-round pick.

“We’re really excited that we were able to select Gavin,” said Dodger director of amateur scouting Billy Gasparino. “We think he’s a bright young man with a lot of ability and comes from a baseball family. He is a pure shortstop that can run, hit and hit with power from the left side.”

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound, left-handed hitter hit .531 (43-for-81) with six home runs, 10 doubles, four triples, 31 RBI and 23 bases this spring. He also drew 29 walks, while only striking out twice in 26 games in 2016.

He was also named the Gatorade State player of the year for the state of Wisconsin. Lux was scouted by Dodger area scout Trey Magnuson.

Here’s Lux’s full profile at MLB.com:

Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 55 | Overall: 50

Lux won’t be able to match the Draft status of his uncle Augie Schmidt, the No. 2 overall pick and the Golden Spikes Award winner in 1982 who’s currently the head coach at NCAA Division III Carthage (Wis.). Nevertheless, he’s a top prospect in his own right and has a chance to become the highest-drafted Wisconsin position player since the Mets popped Scott Servais in the second round 31 years ago. The second-best high school shortstop available, trailing only Puerto Rico’s Delvin Perez, Lux was generating first-round buzz as the Draft approached.

Because he grew up around his uncle’s program, 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.

Here’s what ESPN.com’s Keith Law had to say:

Lux is the draft’s second-best shortstop prospect and is one of maybe three or four who have a real hope of remaining there in pro ball; his defensive actions and footwork are tremendous, and the arm is just fine for short. Last summer, Lux looked like a glove-only prospect who lacked the physicality to do any damage with the bat in pro ball, but he has gotten stronger, and scouts are now more confident he’ll hit enough to play every day.

And here’s Baseball America’s take:

In a draft lacking in true shortstops, Lux impresses because he’s one of the few high school shortstops in the draft class with a solid chance to remain at the position. A quick-twitch athlete with the hands, actions and a little of the flash that shortstops often have, Lux lacks only ideal arm strength. It’s solid average and it’s accurate with a quick release, but many teams like to see shortstops have a plus arm. He’s an above-average runner, though his feet move quickly. At the plate, Lux has a pretty lefthanded stroke that has shown improved power as he’s matured and added weight and strength over the past year. The track record of Wisconsin high school draftees is sparse and rather disappointing, but Lux’s smooth actions and athleticism separate him from the typical Wisconsin product. He should be a solid early-round pick who had late helium, which will make it hard for him to stick with his Arizona State commitment.

Here’s a little more from Baseball America on Lux and his relationship with Schmidt.

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