While eight players have now made their MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, none was more anticipated than Gavin Lux. He was officially added to the Dodgers’ active roster on Monday and started against the Colorado Rockies, playing second base and batting eighth.
“I think surreal is a great word for it,” Lux said in his first interview at Dodger Stadium. “I think every kid’s dream is to get that call if you play baseball. A lot of time and hard work has gone into it. I think surreal is the best word for it.”
Lux added he was “anxious” to take the field and downplayed the idea he felt any added pressure. Though, he ironically mentioned external expectations placed on his shoulders multiple times before heading to the clubhouse to prepare for his moment.
He drew loud cheers during lineup introductions and for every at-bat. “It was a little emotional, honestly,” Lux said. “Dodger fans showed me a lot of love. It was kind of emotional.”
He looked every bit of the standout prospect who tore through Double-A Tulsa and continued that success after a promotion to Triple-A Oklahoma City. The 21-year-old attempted to remind himself games in the Majors are the same at its core as his previous stops, and early success aided that.
“I tried to. Obviously it was hard, it was my debut so I was nervous,” Lux said. “But after the first ground ball, first at-bat, a weight was off my shoulders a little bit. It was fun. I enjoyed it a lot.”
Lux drove the first pitch he saw for a base hit into center field, doubled in his next at-bat and flied out to the warning track in a third trip to the plate. It was the first hit that caught Lux by surprise, but not because there was any self-doubt.
“I saw a video of my first hit and my dad started crying. I thought he was a tough guy,” Lux said with a laugh. “Out of all [my family in attendance] I thought he was going to be the one not to.”
As for what the hit did for him, Lux said, “I was just looking for a fastball somewhere out over the plate and I got it. It was good to get that out of the way right away.”
He fought off emotions to impress teammates, excite the Dodger Stadium crowd, and make franchise history in the process. According to STATS LLC, Lux became the first Dodgers player in the live-ball era to score three runs in his MLB debut.
“We all know he’s a talented player. He’s proven that in Double-A and Triple-A, and tonight he looked like he belonged out there,” said Matt Beaty, who previously was Minor League teammates with Lux. “He was composed and didn’t look too nervous. He was pretty special.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offered similar praise, saying, “He showed well. Taking good at-bats, and defensively he gets off the ball really well, moves really well.”
Monday’s start was likely the start of multiple opportunities for the organization’s top prospect. Particularly while Max Muncy is out and in games the Dodgers face a right-handed starting pitcher.