SAN FRANCISCO — Lucius Fox faced the media for the first time Wednesday, and immediately it was easy to see why Felipe Alou, a special assistant in the front office, believes Fox can be a star.
Fox, an 18-year-old who grew up in the Bahamas and lived in Delray Beach, Florida for four years, speaks perfect English, eliminating the first barrier for many teenagers signed out of the Caribbean.
“My time in America helped me a lot,” Fox said. “It made me become a man a lot sooner. I got to see a lot of guys from different states and compete against them, and it made me a better player.”
The Giants believe Fox may turn into a great one. He was one of 15 international prospects signed by the organization, and by far the most accomplished. Fox, an athletic shortstop, was ranked as the No. 3 prospect in this year’s international class by MLB.com and No. 4 by Baseball America. Alou saw him on back-to-back days and was blown away.
“We see a lot of 16- and 17-year-old kids in the Dominican, but I haven’t seen a kid like that in the Dominican,” the former Giants manager said. “He’s a switch-hitter with speed and confidence. He reminds me of Jose Reyes, but he’s going to be taller than Jose. He has outstanding tools.”
The Giants clocked Fox at 6.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash even though he was running into the wind. Alou was also struck by Fox’s balance at the plate and his maturity.
“This is the first time I’ve been witness to the signing of an international free agent and he didn’t need an interpreter,” Alou said. “I was surprised by his maturity.”
Fox got $6.5 million according to MLB.com, and his makeup was a big reason why the Giants were willing to give so much to a teenager. Words like mature, intelligent and poised are thrown around when rival evaluators talk about Fox, and the Giants have long believed those traits have helped players like Joe Panik and Matt Duffy exceed expectations in the Majors.
Fox is a shortstop right now but may be moved to center field before all is said and done. He will start his career in the instructional league and said he’ll play any position he’s asked. Asked why he chose the Giants, Fox said he felt like he was joining a family.
“Me and my family felt they’re the best team and organization for us,” Fox said. “They made us feel at home.”
Fox had committed to North Carolina State when he played prep ball in Florida, but he returned to the Bahamas last May. Asked who he compares to, Fox mentioned Robinson Cano and Reyes.
“I feel I can bring the same energy and change the game with my speed like Jose Reyes does,” he said.
The Giants feel the same way, and it’s why they wrote a big check when Fox was able to sign on July 2. That also happened to be his 18th birthday.
“Best birthday gift ever,” Fox said, smiling.