- Full name Zackary Kendrick Cox
- Born 05/09/1989 in Louisville, KY
- Profile Ht.: 5'11" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Arkansas
Drafted in the 1st round (25th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2010 (signed for $2,000,000).
View Draft ReportCox is the best pure hitter and top sophomore-eligible player in the draft. He hit just .266 as a freshman on Arkansas' College World Series team a year ago, but improved as the season went on and adjusted his pull-happy approach when he arrived in the Cape Cod League. He hit .344 with wood bats and ranked as the top position prospect in the summer circuit, setting the stage for a breakout spring in which he was hitting .432/.514/.606 entering regional play. Cox has very good hands, a short, lefty stroke and nice command of the strike zone. He has an uncanny ability to hit the ball with authority to the opposite field. There's some debate as to how much power he'll have in the major leagues, but he has the bat speed to do damage once he adds more loft to his swing. He has plenty of strength, as evidenced by a titanic shot he blasted off the top of a 90-foot-tall scoreboard at the 2009 Southeastern Conference tournament. Six feet and 215 pounds, Cox is a decent athlete with fringy speed and range at third base. Not all scouts are sold on his defensive ability. He does have a strong arm--he threw in the low 90s as a reliever a year ago--and will put in the work to improve his reactions at third base. He also has seen time at second base, and one scout said his actions looked better there, but his athleticism is more suited for the hot corner. Cox turned down an $800,000 offer as a Dodgers 20th-round pick out of high school, and he's in line to make two or three times as much as a top 10 choice this June. A pulled back muscle that kept him out of the Southeastern Conference wasn't expected to affect his draft stock.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Regarded as the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft, Cox went 25th overall and netted a $3.2 million big league contract from the Cardinals that included a $2 million bonus. He rocketed through the system, reaching Triple-A last spring, but fell out of favor and was dealt to the Marlins for Edward Mujica in July. Cox still has quick hands and shows gap power with a compact, line-drive swing. When he's on, he works up the middle. Attempts to get him to pull the ball threw off his timing and mechanics last year, when he hit just .254/.301/.409. He has the strength to hit 15-20 home runs a year, though without much lift in his swing he projects as more of a doubles hitter. Cox's body has gotten thick and a little stiff. He needs to get leaner to regain flexibility and fluidity, both at bat and in the field. He must improve his range and footwork at third base, where he's susceptible to bunts and rarely seems to find easy hops. While his arm is strong enough for the hot corner, some scouts foresee an eventual move to first base. He's a below-average runner. The Marlins felt Cox belonged in Double-A when they acquired him, and that may still be the best place for him to open the 2013 season. Third base is wide open in Miami, but someone else will have to keep it warm until Cox proves he's ready.
Cox parlayed his status as the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft and his extra leverage as a sophomore into a $3.2 million big league contract that included a $2 million bonus. He quickly reached Double-A in his first full pro season, batting .335/.388/.500 in his final 61 games after a slow start that resulted from him bending too much at his waist, cheating to reach outside pitches and growing vulnerable to inside ones. A more upright stance allowed him to pull pitches with more power. Scouts believe he'll continue to hit for average, though whether he'll have more than average power is a subject of debate. Cox has the arm to handle third, though he'll need to continue to refine his footwork to enhance his range. He's a below-average runner. Cox will begin 2012 in Double-A with the expectation that he'll be in Triple-A by midseason. A potential No. 3 hitter, he could earn his first big league callup in September, though David Freese looms ahead of him.
Cox was the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft, but his $6 million asking price and extra leverage as a draft-eligible sophomore allowed him to slip to the Cardinals at No. 25 overall. He signed a $3.2 million major league contract at the Aug. 16 deadline. St. Louis threw him into the Arizona Fall League after only four pro games, and he batted a respectable .262/.333/.446. Cox's balanced and refined swing enabled him to set an Arkansas record with a .429 average last spring. He modified his approach after being too home run-conscious as a freshman, flattening and shortening his stroke and using the opposite field more. Some scouts question how much pop he'll have, but he's a gifted hitter with strength and strike-zone awareness, so he should have at least average power. Cox has the arm strength and instincts for third base, though some evaluators think his actions are better suited for second base. He has fringy speed and quickness, but he has the work ethic to improve his defense. The Cardinals will keep Cox at third base until he shows he needs to move. He may begin 2011 in low Class A, but he should get to St. Louis well before his contract forces the issue.
Minor League Top Prospects
Cox reached Double-A by the end of May in his first full pro season. He got off to a slow start and his average stood at .200 at the end of June, but he hit .341 the rest of the way to finish ninth in the league in batting at .293. Cox is a polished hitter who's comfortable going the other way and stays on the ball well. The ball carries off his bat, and he's aggressive with good bat speed, but he's still learning to pull the ball more frequently to generate more power. He's too content to inside-out the ball to the opposite field now. Though Cox is a hard worker with good aptitude for the game, he still needs work on his defense at third base. He had a .912 fielding percentage and 20 errors in 87 games, tied for the most among TL third basemen. Cox moves well but is still working on his footwork at the hot corner, as he often lets the ball play him. He has a strong and accurate arm, and most scouts and managers think he'll be able to stay at third. He's a below-average runner.
Rated the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft class, Cox had no problems handling FSL pitching en route to a promotion to Double-A in late May. He has a smooth, compact swing and stays inside the ball, utilizing the whole field. He ranked fifth in the league in batting at the time of his departure. Cox shows some power to his pull side when he does turn on balls, but he prefers to stay gap-to-gap. He does have the quickness in his bat and some lift in his swing to settle in between 15-20 homers per season, with the potential to be a .300 hitter. Cox's best defensive asset is his solid throwing arm, which is good enough for third base, and he consistently makes the routine play. However, he lacks athleticism and first-step quickness, and he needs to work on getting ready for balls earlier. He's a below-average runner.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011
Background: Cox parlayed his status as the best pure hitter in the 2010 draft and his extra leverage as a sophomore into a $3.2 million big league contract that included a $2 million bonus. He quickly reached Double-A in his first full pro season, batting .335/.388/.500 in his final 61 games after a slow start. Scouting Report: Cox's initial struggles at Double-A came because he was bending too much at his waist, cheating to reach outside pitches and growing vulnerable to inside ones. A more upright stance allowed him to pull pitches with more power. Scouts believe he'll continue to hit for average, though whether he'll have more than average power is a subject of debate. Cox made strides at third base once he settled his feet. He has the arm to handle the position, though he'll need to continue to refine the footwork to enhance his range. Some evaluators have wondered if he'd fit better at second base, though his lack of quickness would seem to make that a stretch. He's a below-average runner. The Future: Cox will begin 2012 in Double-A with the expectation that he'll be in Triple-A by midseason. Another potential No. 3 hitter, he could earn his first big league callup in September, though David Freese looms ahead of him in St. Louis.