Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, Lucius Fox, Jr., does indeed share a name with the Morgan Freeman character from the Christopher Nolan Batman movies. Yes, it’s pretty awesome.
OK, now that we’ve dealt with that, let’s get to looking at Fox the baseball player. First, some background.
Fox, 18 on Thursday, was born in the Bahamas — noted baseball hotbed — attended high school in Florida and moved back to the Bahamas. Because of that, MLB declared him an international free agent instead of being eligible for the draft. That benefits him much more financially, so good for him.
He’s a thin fella, checking in at 6’2, 170 pounds. For context: He’s as tall as Hector Olivera, but weighs 50 pounds less. He could add some bulk (10-15 pounds of muscle) going forward without compromising the rest of his game and in hopes of making louder contact. Defensively, Fox has a legitimate chance to stick at shortstop due to his plus-plus speed and soft hands.
Fox competed at the Perfect Game National Showcase, which is a rarity when it comes to international free agents. He performed well and put himself on the proverbial map. If he were eligible for the draft last month, he would have been a 1st-round selection.
His athleticism is what stands out most. He possesses plus-plus speed (6.41 seconds in the 60-yard dash) that should allow him to be a threat on the base paths. It’ll also give him plus-range at shortstop. His arm won’t be confused for Rafael Furcal‘s, but it’s good enough to handle shortstop, especially since he does everything else so well. Steve Fiorindo of Prospect Pipeline had Fox’s top velocity at 89 MPH from shortstop to first base. He isn’t the best defensive shortstop on the international market (Ben Badler opines that it’s Ronny Brito, another Dodger target), but he should provide value defensively.
On offense, Fox isn’t going to hit a ton of home runs, even if he adds weight. He has more gap pop/power that might produce 8-10 home runs a season. He’s a switch-hitter and has a short, compact swing. His stances are generally similar, except he’s a little more open from the left side. And the left-side swing looks prettier than the right side, but that’s not uncommon. He shows solid bat speed and is adept at hitting the ball to all fields. I could see him being a Brandon Crawford– or Brad Miller-type shortstop, without as much pop (in Crawford’s case), more speed and comparable defense. And say what you will about Crawford and the Giants, but he’s been one of the best in the game this season.
Side note: In the second video, Fox is running side-by-side with Dodgers’ 15th-rounder Garrett Zech, who, unfortunately, won’t sign with the club.
Kiley McDaniel projects Fox to land a $6 million bonus from the Dodgers. It seems like he’ll be well worth the investment. The Dodgers didn’t spend that much money total on international amateur signings last year, so it’s pretty clear they’re blowing out their budget.
Fox’s potential addition would make him the best shortstop prospect not named Corey Seager, and definitely one of the best on defense. If I had to rank him in the system, I’d say he’s easily a Top 25 guy, and probably closer to Top 15.