First, maybe a little bit of history is in order.
Some years ago, the Giants sent a prized high school hitter, who had received a very sizable signing bonus, to the Sally league for his full season debut following a successful short season stint the summer before. The player, noted for his beautiful swing and athleticism (he was a two sport star), immediately began struggling to adjust to A ball and the season quickly got away from him. Over the course of two months, the player hit barely over the Mendoza line and Slugged less than .280, while striking out at a prodigious rate. He K'd in just about one third of his PA and in frighteningly close to 40% of his ABs. Finally when short season play began, the Giants pulled the plug and sent this player back down to Salem-Keizer for a repeat of the level.
A few years later, the Giants sent another high school hitter to A ball, a high draft choice, big signing bonus, a kid with good power and athletic. He struggled. He made it through the year, but hit just .230 with an OBP south of .300. He also struggled in the field, making 35 errors in just 80 games. The next year he'd return to the Sally and make 40 more errors.
And one more, a high draft pick, high school hitter with a great track record for hitting both amateur and pro, showed up in the Sally with high expectations, and proceeded to faceplant with a vengeance, putting up, in a scant 125 PA, an almost unimaginable sub-.500 OPS before the plug was pulled.
But failing, failing badly even, in A ball was not the end of these kids' careers and didn't spell doom. The first of those players ended up playing an important role on two different Giants' World Championship teams, and will forever more be seen freeing himself of the clutches of Jake Peavy, and smashing his helmet to the ground as he rounds 3b in triumph. The second is currently a roster member of a major league team many think is the deepest and most talented in baseball (I'm looking at you PECOTA). And the last is the consensus best prospect in the Giants' system. (Respectively, of course, Travis Ishikawa, Charlie Culberson, Christian Arroyo)
All of which brings me to the subject of Lucius Fox, still just 18 years old, about to embark on his professional career for the Augusta Greenjackets, in the A level Sally league. Unlike Ishikawa, Culby, and Arroyo, Fox has no successful stint in rookie league or short season ball behind him, he doesn't even have a senior year in high school on his resume. Where the others stepped into their A ball season with some sketch of a track record, Fox takes the field with a giant unknown for a resume, a track record entirely made up of the part of the map that says "here be monsters."
Things that are known about Lucius Fox:
- He was smart enough to game the system, opting out of his senior year in HS at the prestigious American Heritage High in Florida (alma mater to future big leaguers like Eric Hosmer, Deven Marrero, and Antoan Richardson among others). Returning to the Bahamas where he was born and petitioning the Commissioner's office to enter MLB through international acquisition, rather than the domestic draft, Fox thus earned himself some ~$4 mm more than he would likely have received as a top 1-2 rounds pick.
- He has the potential for 80 grade speed, and tremendous athleticism to go with excellent whippy bat speed from both sides of the plate.
- The Giants loved him a LOT! And they scouted him a lot: in High School, at the East Coast Pro Showcase in the summer of 2014 (an event the Giants are said to place a lot of value on), and finally, at a private workout in Florida where the Giants flew in some of their own minor league pitchers to throw against him, to get a better idea of his ability to hit velocity and advanced pitching.
- He's never played a game of pro ball, he missed his senior year of High School season, and he's about to take position at the top of the lineup against A ball pitching, which will include a decent amount of crafty college guys.