#43 Zack Cox
St. Louis Cardinals
Previous Rank: N/R
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.
|2011||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||STL||135||569||516||76||158||27||13||68||2||3||40||98||.306|
|2011||22||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-A+||STL||135||569||516||13||68||.306||.363||.434||.797||224|
|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|
|3B (2 seasons)||3B||125||303||50||229||24||18||.921||2.23|
|DH (1 season)||DH||11||0.00|
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.