Every Spring Training, there are a few names and faces that come out of the blue and surprise fans with their ability. So far this Spring, non-roster invitee RHP Matt Fox has been blowing people away on the mound. The 28-year old has pitched in a total of 4 major league games, 1 with the Minnesota Twins and 3 with the Boston Red Sox last season, so he came into this Spring with a lot to prove. In 3 games pitched (4 innings) this Spring, Fox has 7 strikeouts and has allowed just 2 hits. In Tuesday’s contest against the Houston Astros, Fox struck-out the side in the 9th inning for his 1st save, preserving a 3-2 victory for the Sox. Not too shabby.
What is most impressive about Fox is his ability to get the strike out. He is 10th on the Sox in innings pitched this Spring, but 1st by a wide-margin in strike outs. He sits with 7 and the next closest total is 4 (a tie between 7 pitchers), while only allowing 1 walk. He has always had a strong walk to strike out ratio, dating back to his days at Central Florida, where during the 2004 season he struck out 125 and walked just 32. He is sitting on the cusp of being a decent major-league player, but hasn’t had a real extended opportunity to prove himself at the highest level just yet.
The only blemish for Fox so far this Spring is a solo-home run he allowed to C Jake Fox of the Baltimore Orioles, who has 3 home runs and is hitting .391 this Spring in 8 games. As (Matt) Fox continues to impress and improve as a player, he could mature into a solid bullpen arm, potentially filling a role for the Red Sox in the future. The Sox always need more depth in the ‘pen, with injuries and workload weighing on the group as the season wears on, so Fox may be just the answer. If he could come into games in the 6th and/or 7th inning and bridge the gap to the end of the ‘pen guys, he could be extremely valuable on nights when Red Sox pitchers can’t get out of the 6th inning (I’m looking at you Dice-K).