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Jake Fox: A Forgotten Man?

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistMay 10, 2009

MESA, AZ - FEBRUARY 23:  Jake Fox of the Chicago Cubs poses during photo day at the Fitch Park Spring Training complex on February 23, 2009 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

By picking him in the third round of the 2003 draft, the Cubs seemed to have high hopes for University of Michigan product, Jake Fox.

Yet here we are six years later, and he has played in a grand total of seven games and tallied 14 at-bats for the big league club. So what went wrong?

Originally drafted as a catcher, the Cubs left him at his natural position until 2007, when he got his first taste of Triple-A baseball. It was then  he also got his first taste of being teammates with Geovanny Soto, a clearly superior catcher and a man that was obviously ahead of Fox on the depth chart.

So Fox began the conversion to first basemen/outfielder, and continued to hit the entire way.

He finished the 2007 season with a combined AA/AAA stat line of .284, 24, 79. That earned him a September call-up and seemingly made him one of the Cubs top hitting prospects.

His 2008 season did little to change his title as one of the organization's top hitting prospects, as he again posted a stellar season with a line of .287, 31, 105. 

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However, that was not enough for him to make the jump to the next level, as teammate Micah Hoffpauir's .362, 25, 100 season netted him a September call-up instead.

With the retirement of pinch-hitter extraordinaire Daryle Ward, a spot was open on the Cubs bench this season, but Hoffpauir now had the upper hand, not only because of the 2008 experience, but also because he was a lefty.

So it was once again down to Triple-A to start the 2009 season, and Fox has once again been impressive. He has a stat line of .389, 12, 32 through the first 26 games this season, the 12 home runs being tops in all of the minor leagues. So what more does Fox have to do to warrant a call-up?

Well, barring an injury he will be in Iowa for the foreseeable future, and at 26-years-old, time is starting to become a factor, but there is still hope. Look no further than St. Louis last season, where 29-year-old Ryan Ludwick made the All-Star team and put up huge numbers in his first full season in the bigs.

So, Cubs fans, watch out for a guy named Jake Fox, because he just might make a name for himself, given the opportunity.

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