The Pittsburgh Pirates made an interesting signing this week in former Baltimore Orioles C/1B/3B/OF Jake Fox. The former prospect had quite a place in the hearts of Baltimore Orioles fans after leading the league in homers last season.
It just sucks for O’s fans that the ‘season’ was Spring Training.
Sure sometimes homers in March translate into a breakout season for a Major League player, remember that Jose Bautista guy? But more often than not, it’s just numbers. A guy is hot and catches the eye of the fans of a downtrodden team who thinks they have the second coming of Joey Bats on their hands.
We’ve been excited about ‘camp champ’ type players before, you probably have been to. We got a little pumped about the six bombs that John Bowker hit in 2010. And of course you remember how well Bowker did during the season right?
Yeh. Me too.
But there was that Bautista guy….
This March, Fox crushed his sixth homer off Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf onto the roof of the building past the left field wall at McKechnie Field in Bradenton (and later his seventh homer in a 13-3 Orioles win.) At the time, many Orioles fans were clamoring for Fox to get some work at 1B because the O’s shiny, new free agent Derrek Lee was questionable to start the season.
However, Showalter wasn’t fooled. In the Baltimore Sun, the O’s manager had this to say about Fox:
“I want him to show me what he can do catching. We all know he is capable of doing some good things with the bat. He had a good game behind the plate, a better game behind the plate. That’s really what I was looking at today.”
When asked if it were possible for a guy with seven spring homers not to make the team, Showalter simply said: “Yes.”
Fox made the club. He hit .188 with two homers and a 646OPS. Unfortunately for him, he was sent back to the minors on June 1.
At the time you might remember, the Pirates were rumored to be looking at Fox after Chris Snyder was lost for the season when his back finally had enough of the Pirates winning ways. But this report, also in the Baltimore Sun, stated that the Pirates didn’t find Fox’s glove to be strong enough at the catching position.
So if Fox didn’t have strong enough catching defense five months ago, we would have to think the Pirates are thinking of him in some type of other role.
Maybe he will play the part of John Bowker moving forward?
Or maybe he will be the next Jose Bautista?
I have a feeling Fox might be neither, Bautista at least showed plate discipline, Fox doesn’t excel in plate discipline, but he has crushed some minor league pitching in his day.
Some funny reading about Fox pissing off both Jim Leyland and Buck Showalter….
CHECK OUT OUR PODCASTS BELOW WHERE YOU CAN HEAR INTERVIEWS WITH PIRATES PRESIDENT FRANK COONELLY, GM NEAL HUNTINGTON, AND THE LATEST WITH BUCS EXEC JIM POPOVICH, AND TALENT GURU W.T. MILLER:
Here at the Podcast, we’re thankful for YOU.
Just in time for you to download to your portable device, so you can slip your earphones in and not have to hear Uncle Larry’s pissing and moaning about how he “ate too much” for the twenty bazillionth time [complete with unbuttoning and unzipping his pants at the table and not pushing his chair back in until your sister hollers "Eww, GROSS!"], or watch “Aunt” Peggy (who’s not really a blood relative Aunt, but your Mom’s college roommate) get sloshed and tell the story about that “tickle fight” she and your Mom had before Mom rushes her out of the room and into the bathroom, or when Grandma wonders out loud – again – why your Mom ever quit dating that guy who went on to win the Nobel Prize and married your Dad instead, and your Dad gets all quiet and goes into the living room to “watch football” and make his umpteenth double vodka gimlet with a Maalox chaser, or… Hmm… on second thought, maybe you’d be better off sitting at the Kids’ Table.
(“Yo, Eleven” Episode)
In this week’s podcast, we:
Announce the winner of the First Rumbunter Podcast Contest (Congratulations to S.K. Rummel – Smitty mailed out your prize today!), and announce another contest! (Note: comments for this post are screened – we will pick the winner from among those with the correct answer)
Speak with Mr. Jim Popovich – Director of New Business Development and Premium Sales for the Pirates, who relates some great stories [including one about Smitty's "interesting" taste in music], and offers something special for Rumbunter Podcast fans – a little something extra when they buy their tickets (make sure to drop Cocktailsfor2’s name!), whether full- or partial-season plans.
Speak with Friend of the Program Wilbur T. Miller, (he of Pirates Prospects and Bucs Dugout fame) about the (then impending) CBA (and boy, was he bang-on!), the Rule 5 candidates (again, right on the money), and more!
You can download Episode 11, as well as Episodes 1 thru X at the above link.