Over his first four years in the Cubsâ€™ system, Jake Fox steadily climbed the ladder while continuing to learn the nuances of life behind the plate.
A third-round pick out of Michigan in 2003, Foxâ€™s career path took a turn during instructional league last fall, when the Cubs started trying to implement some defensive versatility with the 24-year-old catcher.
Fox played left field throughout instructs in anticipation for spring training, but now thereâ€™s even more on his plate. These days, Fox brings four gloves with him wherever he goes.
â€œHeâ€™s played some first base and weâ€™re starting working some ground balls to him at third base as well now,â€ Double-A Tennessee manager Pat Listach said. â€œHeâ€™s definitely increased his versatility by working his tail off.
â€œHeâ€™s a good left fielder right now and with his background as a catcher . . . it just makes him an extremely valuable commodity. He still needs work on his reactions (on both corner infield spots), but heâ€™s been a joy to watch. He works very hard every day and thatâ€™s really all you can ask for from a guy whoâ€™s learning so much on the fly.â€
What makes Fox even more of a joy to watch lately is that for all his extra defensive effort, there certainly hasnâ€™t been a drop-off at the plate. Over his last two games, Fox put together seven straight hitsâ€”a short stretch that also included three home runs. Heâ€™s 11-for-16 (.687) with four homers in his last four games and hitting .353/.370/.612 in 139 at-bats overall.
His Achilles’ Heel has been drawing walksâ€”Fox has just two free passes compared to 28 strikeouts this season. But as long as heâ€™s making contact like heâ€™s been, the Cubs will likely live with it.
â€œHeâ€™s hitting every pitch right now,â€ Listach said. â€œThereâ€™s no question heâ€™s on a tearâ€”heâ€™s as hot as Iâ€™ve seen. Heâ€™s one of those guys thatâ€™s making my job a heck of a lot easier.
“Heâ€™s compact with a line-drive approach and he uses the whole field, he doesnâ€™t walk a lot, but thatâ€™s because heâ€™s been so aggressive and his pitch recognition has been very good. When he gets his pitch, he hasnâ€™t been missing it often.â€
Comments will be monitored prior to being added to the site. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be rejected. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed.
We have chosen to open up commenting to everyone, so comment away! We want to hear from each and every one of you! Leave a comment.
About This Blog
Syndicate This Blog
Search This Blog