Rookies to Look For: Jake Fox

For those of you who don’t know, Jake Fox is hitting the cover off the ball at Triple-A Iowa for the Chicago Cubs.  As of today, Jake Fox is hitting .446 with 12 home runs, 8 doubles, and 31 RBIs in 19 games.  He is bashing Pacific Coast League pitching with a 1.579 OPS.  According to Baseball America, his 12 home runs is more than all but one Midwest League team has for the season.

The Cubs drafted Fox as a catcher in the third round of the first year player draft back in 2003 out of Michigan University.  But his time behind the plate didn’t last long as his defense has been sub-par.  In fact it has been sub-par wherever the Cubs have put him around the field.  Jake has spent time at first base and in the corner outfield spots during the past three seasons.  Baseball America has described Fox’s defense as “a notch above horrific” with substandard grades in speed, range, hands and arm strength.  Although he apparently has a great work ethic and attitude, the Cubs just cannot find a place for him to play in the field.

Bleacher Nation has pulled some interesting quotes from the Daily Herald that the Cubs prospect stated.  It looks as though he believes he’s ready for the majors and is open to a trade from the Cubs to get that major league level playing time.

“Everybody’s been on me about the defense,” Fox said before getting sent out. “I’ve got time to work on that. Here’s the way I feel about it: I know I can play at this level. I know I’m a big-league baseball player. At this point, it’s about finding a good fit for me – where I can fit in, where I can play.”

“I don’t know what’s going on because I know there are some teams that have been trying to get me at some point,” Fox said. “Maybe they’re not making a good enough offer. I can’t worry about that. If they (the Cubs) don’t feel I can fit for them, hopefully Jim has enough courtesy to move me on to somebody that can use me.”

To me he seems a little bit like the second coming of Julio Zuleta, mostly a Four-A hitter and doesn’t have the defense to be viable off the bench in the majors.  Trade-wise he doesn’t seem to fit for any team, even at first base, unless he makes major strides in his defense this season.  Also, with many of the AL teams wanting their DH to become an interchangeable part of their everyday lineup, there is little desire for DH-only types around the majors.

But if he keeps hitting like this, someone will take a flyer on the slugger.

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