Who’s leading the Orioles in home runs this Spring? Is it Vlad Guerrero? Nope. What about Mark Reynolds? Wrong again. Luke Scott? Negative. Believe it or not it’s a guy defying all the MLB Odds, Jake Fox.
Fox cranked his fourth ball over the fence in yesterday’s win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, giving him the lead over slugger Vlad Guerrero. Though Jake Fox is hitting .333 with four doubles and six runs scored this Spring, he finds himself in a heated battle for a roster spot filling in for catcher Matt Wieters.
As mentioned in BSR’s roster preview of the 28 year old utility man, Fox was drafted by the Cubs and brought to Baltimore from Oakland via a trade last season.
Between June 22, 2009 and Aug. 2, 2009, Fox hit .314 in 29 games with the Cubs. He homered 8 times and drove in 22, scoring 13 runs in 96 plate appearances. Small sample size? Maybe. But Fox thinks that a starting job would show teams that he can consistently put up those types of numbers. “Ultimately, hopefully, I will have a chance to be an everyday player someday, but at this point, to get my foot in the door, I have to move around,” Fox told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
Along with a little more pop than what Craig Tatum has provided at the plate, Fox also brings a great attitude into the Orioles clubhouse and has proven to be a good teammate in his short team in Baltimore.
This month, the club’s top pitching prospect, Zach Britton, was incredibly amped up against the Philadelphia Phillies in his first start when Fox, who was catching, went to the mound to calm down the rookie with a little terrible humor.
Fox offered the following joke to the jittery Britton: “A sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender says: ‘I’m sorry. We don’t serve food here.'”
“Nothing. Crickets,” Fox said, relaying Britton’s reaction. “I was like, ‘All right man, just come on, let’s get this guy out.'”
Fox’s competition against Craig Tatum hasn’t been easy this spring. Tatum has the edge on Fox defensively and has surprsing kept up to pace with Fox at the plate, hitting .304 with 3 RBI in 23 at bats. “Our focus here has been deciding whether he can catch well enough to be our [number] two catcher,” Fox’s Manager Buck Showalter said.
In addition to his catching abilities, Fox brings offers the Orioles is a true utility man who can also play first and third base as well as left field if needed. “Knowing that other things are a possibility certainly doesn’t hurt him,” Showalter said.