Is Chicago Cubs IF/OF/C Jake Fox becoming the next Mark DeRosa for the Cubs? Fox’s hitting has been widely praised up and down the Cubs leadership hierarchy, posting downright gaudy numbers this season for the AAA Iowa Cubs. His .409 BA, 17HR, 53RBI and OBP of .495 in just 45 games are completely off the charts. In 29 games with the Cubs, Fox’s stats are .312 BA, 4HR, 15 RBI with an OBP of .356, very impressive for a part-time role player.
Fox has forged his reputation as a very solid, strong hitter with no natural fielding position. He was drafted as a catcher in the 3rd round of the 2003 amateur entry draft, out of University of Michigan, but has bounced around the diamond since, with some saying his best position will ultimately be as a designated hitter.
Since his second recall from Iowa this season, Fox has played third base, left field, and this past week before the All-Star game, he played his natural position, catcher in the second game of a day night double-header. In past stints with the Cubs, Fox has also played first base and right field. Fox has quietly developed into a 5 position player with a very strong bat. He hits for power, average, and can get on base. He has delivered in the clutch when the Cubs lacked any clutch hitting in the months of June and July.
As the second half of the season begins, the best use of Jake Fox may be in the role that Mark DeRosa played for the Cubs in the last 2 seasons. Fox has the ability to play multiple positions, maybe not quite as well as DeRosa, but he has shown competence in every position he’s played, and he may develop into a much better hitter than DeRosa as well. Fox is also seven years younger than DeRosa too. Fox can play up to 3-4 games a week to rest players such as 3B Aramis Ramirez, 1B Derrek Lee, OF Alfonso Soriano, and OF Milton Bradley. He can also spot-catch when needed. He may even be a better hitting backup catcher option to C Geovanny Soto than C Koyie Hill, or at least provide Cubs manager Lou Piniella more roster flexibility in late game situations.