JAKE FOX
FIRST BASEMAN
Born: July 20, 1982
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 3rd Round, 73rd Overall, 2003 (Cubs)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: University of Michigan
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

The Cubs originally drafted Fox as a catcher.  He’s always had good power, but his plate discipline has been weak in the minors and dismal in the majors.  He’s had a huge reverse platoon split in the majors, posting an OPS of .819 against RHPs and .571 against LHPs.  He runs a little better than the typical catcher.  Defense behind the plate has been a major problem.  He has a decent arm, but doesn’t move or receive pitches well.  Since 2007, he’s primarily played first and the outfield corners, although he’s continued to catch occasionally.  He hasn’t caught much in the majors.  The Pirates signed him to a minor league deal for 2012.

2003
R:  240/321/400, 50 AB, 5 2B, 1 HR, 5 BB, 14 K, 0-1 SB
A:  260/330/490, 100 AB, 8 2B, 5 HR, 8 BB, 19 K

Fox hit for good power in a brief debut divided between short season ball and low A.  He played strictly behind the plate and threw out 39% of base stealers.

2004
A:  287/331/470, 366 AB, 19 2B, 3 3B, 14 HR, 17 BB, 75 K, 2-3 SB

Fox spent the season in low A, which isn’t great progress for a college draftee.  He had 25 passed balls and 13 errors in just 78 games behind the plate.  At the plate he hit for good power but had a very low walk rate.

2005
A+:  285/361/461, 267 AB, 20 2B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 48 K, 5-7 SB

Still moving slowly, Fox spent the whole season in high A.  He hit about the same as the previous season, except with a much better walk rate.  He still played strictly behind the plate and got his passed balls and errors down to 11 and four, respectively.

2006
A+:  313/383/573, 249 AB, 15 2B, 1 3B, 16 HR, 27 BB, 49 K, 4-5 SB
AA:  269/304/435, 193 AB, 17 2B, 5 HR, 9 BB, 44 K

Fox returned to high A and had a big first half, although at that point he was repeating the level and was nearly 24.  He didn’t hit as well after moving up to AA, where he had major strike zone issues.  He was still playing almost entirely behind the plate and had 22 passed balls in 90 games.

2007
AA:  284/327/504, 359 AB, 23 2B, 1 3B, 18 HR, 17 BB, 72 K, 6-8 SB
AAA:  283/343/535, 99 AB, 7 2B, 6 HR, 5 BB, 23 K, 2-2 SB
MLB:  143/200/286, 14 AB, 2 2B, 1 BB, 2 K 

Fox returned to AA and hit well, although still with a very low walk rate.  He hit about the same after a late promotion to AAA.  He played mostly first and the outfield.  The Cubs called him up in mid-July for a little over a month, but he saw little action.

2008
AA:  307/397/580, 388 AB, 29 2B, 1 3B, 25 HR, 46 BB, 73 K, 4-6 SB
AAA:  222/242/479, 117 AB, 10 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 2 BB, 31 K, 2-2 SB

The Cubs sent Fox back down to AA, where he not surprisingly dominated.  He spent a small part of the season in AAA and hit for good power, but with terrible walk and K rates.  He didn’t catch all year, playing first and left, and a few games at third.

2009
AAA:  409/495/841, 164 AB, 14 2B, 3 3B, 17 HR, 21 BB, 31 K, 2-3 SB
MLB:  259/311/468, 216 AB, 12 2B, 11 HR, 14 BB, 47 K

After he tore up AAA, the Cubs called Fox up in late May.  He spent the rest of the year with them, playing mainly third, due to Aramis Ramirez being out half the year, and the outfield.  He hit for good power with weak plate discipline.  After the season, the Cubs sent Fox and Aaron Miles to Oakland for three middling minor leaguers, in a move that was primarily intended to relieve the Cubs of Miles’ salary.

2010
MLB (Oak):  214/264/327, 98 AB, 5 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 26 K
MLB (Balt):  220/257/440, 100 AB, 5 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 3 BB, 23 K

Fox spent the first half of the season with the A’s, playing only sparingly.  He started seven games at catcher and six in left, along with 11 as DH.  He hit very little.  Oakland traded him to the Orioles in late June.  He didn’t play much in Baltimore, either, mainly at catcher, left and third.  He hit for good power for the O’s, but his plate discipline was very bad at both stops.

2011
AAA:  275/351/491, 265 AB, 19 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR, 22 BB, 52 K
MLB:  246/313/443, 61 AB, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 8 K

Fox opened the season with the O’s, but again played only sparingly.  Baltimore outrighted him to AAA in early June, then recalled him in late August and outrighted him again after the season.  He hit well in AAA and reasonably well in Baltimore.

The Pirates gave Fox a chance to compete for a roster spot with Nick Evans and Matt Hague, but sent him and Evans to AAA at the end of spring training.  He’ll have to compete for playing time there with Evans and Jeff Clement, and possibly also Hague, but there’s still a reasonable chance that he could see time in Pittsburgh.  He’s hit well enough in the majors that he could be useful in a bench role, especially given the Pirates’ severe lack of power.  He could play the sort of corner utility role that Steve Pearce played while he was healthy in 2011, as well as serving as the emergency catcher.  The reverse platoon split, though, makes it hard to see him as a platoon player.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2010: $405,000
2011: $424,000
2012: Minor league contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $500,000
MiLB Debut: 2003
MLB Debut: 7/19/2007
MiLB FA Eligible: 2012
MLB FA Eligible: 2016
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: July 19, 2007
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2007, 2008, 2009)
MLB Service Time: 2.082
TRANSACTIONS
June 3, 2003: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 3rd round, 73rd overall pick; signed on June 29.
July 19, 2007: Contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs.
December 3, 2009: Traded by the Chicago Cubs with Aaron Miles to the Oakland Athletics for Matt Spencer, Ronny Morla and Jeff Gray.
June 22, 2010: Traded by the Oakland Athletics to the Baltimore Orioles for Ross Wolf.
June 10, 2011: Outrighted to AAA by the Baltimore Orioles.
August 23, 2011: Recalled by the Baltimore Orioles.
October 28, 2011: Outrighted to AAA by the Baltimore Orioles.
November 2, 2011: Became a free agent.
November 22, 2011: Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.