Everyone seemingly assumed that Gavin Lux would open 2020 as the Dodgers’ starting second baseman, though we all know what happens when we assume… Yesterday this bit of news was dropped on us:
#Dodgers have optioned 2B Gavin Lux.— Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) July 21, 2020
So fantasy owners will have to wait for Lux’ arrival as a viable fantasy option, which will hopefully come at some point in 2020 (but in this sprint, that’s no guarantee). So where does this leave Los Angeles? They do have the option of sliding the entire lineup around, like moving Max Muncy to 2B and utilizing Joc Pederson or Cody Bellinger at 1B.
Who could benefit from that shuffling, opening the DH spot? Who could slide into 2B if things remain the same? Let’s take a look at the potential winners:
Chris Taylor (Winner)
He started at 2B in Monday’s exhibition game, hitting eighth and going 2-3 with 1 HR, 4 RBI and 2 R (he also played SS during the game). He seems like the most obvious choice to take on the bulk of the AB, having three straight strong seasons showing both power and speed:
- 2017 (568 PA) – .288 with 21 HR and 17 SB
- 2018 (604 PA) – .254 with 17 HR and 9 SB
- 2019 (414 PA) – .262 with 12 HR and 8 SB
A right-handed hitter, he doesn’t have an obvious split in his statistics (.265/.330/.436 slash against RHP). While he has maintained an elevated BABIP, his willingness to use the entire field (32.2% Oppo%), ability to hit the ball hard (38.0% Hard%) and speed should allow him to maintain it.
We’d like to see him make more contact (14.7% SwStr% in ’19), but even as is he could prove to make an impact. There are a lot of questions (like a poor 86.1 mph Exit Velocity), but he seems like the best bet to have fantasy appeal.
Enrique Hernandez (Platoon Option)
He started at 2B in Sunday’s exhibition game and has 38 HR in 922 PA over the past two seasons. Interestingly he brings a better approach than Taylor, including an 11.2% SwStr% and 31.7% O-Swing% in 2019. However he’s more pull heavy (24.3% Oppo% in ’19) and has had problems with popups throughout his career (12.4% IFFB).
A career .241 hitter, his Exit Velocity (88.4 mph) and Hard Hit% (34.2%) in 2019 were virtually league average. That doesn’t speak to much appeal, and when you put it all together it’s hard to see significant upside. Maybe he provides a little bit of power, but that’s a one-trick pony that doesn’t offer significant appeal and showed an obvious split that could pigeonhole him as a platoon player:
- vs. RHP – .221/.285/.403
- vs. LHP – .263/.335/.423
Edwin Rios (Non-Winner)
Rios seems like a potential DH option, hitting .270 with 31 HR at Triple-A last season. He also brought a 34.5% strikeout rate courtesy of an ugly 17.9% SwStr%. That type of swing and miss is going to be exploited by Major League pitching, meaning he’s unlikely to tap into any of that power on a consistent basis.
Matt Beaty (Non-Winner)
The DH candidate hit .265 with 9 HR over 268 PA in ’19. An 89.4 mph Exit Velocity and 9.9 degree Launch Angle doesn’t speak to much power, nor does he offer stolen base potential. Even if he somehow got playing time, does anyone see him as a potential difference maker?
Sources – Fangraphs, Baseball Savant
Make sure to check out all of our Updated 2020 preseason rankings: