Originally written on The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog  |  Last updated 11/18/14

#43 Zack Cox

St. Louis Cardinals

DOB: 5/9/1989

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2013

Zack Cox had the best hit tool grading in the 2010 class, was arguably the best hitter in Arkansas history despite only staying there for two seasons, and was a massive steal for the Cardinals as the 25th pick overall.  In just his first full professional season, Cox reached Double-A and posted very respectable numbers with a slash line of .306/.363/.434 across two stops.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA 2010 21 Cardinals GULF Rk STL 4 17 15 0 6 1 0 1 0 0 1 3 .400 2011 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ STL 135 569 516 76 158 27 13 68 2 3 40 98 .306 2011 22 Palm Beach FLOR A+ STL 42 180 164 22 55 8 3 20 2 2 11 29 .335 2011 22 Springfield TL AA STL 93 389 352 54 103 19 10 48 0 1 29 69 .293 2 Seasons 139 586 531 76 164 28 13 69 2 3 41 101 .309 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/14/2011. Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS TB 2010 21 Cardinals GULF Rk STL 4 17 15 0 1 .400 .471 .467 .937 7 2011 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ STL 135 569 516 13 68 .306 .363 .434 .797 224 2011 22 Palm Beach FLOR A+ STL 42 180 164 3 20 .335 .380 .439 .819 72 2011 22 Springfield TL AA STL 93 389 352 10 48 .293 .355 .432 .787 152 2 Seasons 139 586 531 13 69 .309 .366 .435 .801 231 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/14/2011. Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/G 2010 21 Cardinals GULF Rk STL 3B 3 6 0 6 0 0 1.000 2.00 2011 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ STL 3B 122 297 50 223 24 18 .919 2.24 2011 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA STL DH 11 0.00 2011 22 Palm Beach FLOR A+ STL 3B 35 69 14 51 4 2 .942 1.86 2011 22 Palm Beach FLOR A+ STL DH 7 0.00 2011 22 Springfield TL AA STL 3B 87 228 36 172 20 16 .912 2.39 2011 22 Springfield TL AA STL DH 4 0.00 2 Seasons 136 303 50 229 24 18 .921 2.05 3B (2 seasons) 3B 125 303 50 229 24 18 .921 2.23 DH (1 season) DH 11 0.00 Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/14/2011.

He really has little to prove in the Texas League and should open the year in Triple-A.  Realistically, though, he might be forced to repeat the level if for no other reason than to slow his development down somewhat considering that David Freese seems firmly entrenched at third in St. Louis for a few years.  Cox is a true 70-grade hitter who hits to all parts of the yard, has tremendous balance, bat track, and timing as well as exceptional judgment of both the strike zone and the hitting zone..  His lower half is virtually always fully loaded and on time.  Cox practically never breaks down in his front half but somehow is never really behind anything either.

His pitch selection and recognition is arguably the best in the Minors today, and most balls he squares up have outstanding carry to them.  The one knock, and it’s a small one, is that Cox has a tendency to stay so inside of pitches, particularly on the inner half, that he fails to fully clear and drive long to the pull side.  Personally, if he never corrects this, I still see an all-star bat if he can stay at third.  His glove and speed are far behind his hit tool as well as his power and arm tools, which both grade as 55-60.  He booted 20 grounders in under 90 games in the Texas League and has a long way to go as far as footwork goes, but there is enough to like about his fielding to let him stick at the hot corner in the short term.  St. Louis fans probably don’t want to hear this, but Zach Cox could make Albert Pujols dispensable in some ways.







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