Bahamian Fox among top international prospects
Seventeen-year-old shortstop known for strong work ethic, defense
Lucius Fox is redefining island time in the Bahamas. The teenage infielder starts his day at the gym near his Nassau home at 6 a.m. sharp, and he's seated in class at The Leadership Academy by 7 a.m.
School ends each day at 12:30 p.m., and Fox is on the field at nearby Maximum Development Sports Academy 30 minutes later for five hours of training.
This is how Fox chooses to relax. The 17-year-old shortstop is among the most coveted prospects for the upcoming international signing period, which starts July 2, and his work ethic is one of the reasons why. Add a projectable body, advanced tools and high school experience in the United States to his resume, and it's no surprise the international scouting world is buzzing about Fox as the new face of baseball in the Bahamas.
Fox, who turns 18 on July 2, enters MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospect list at No. 3, behind Cuban outfielder Eddy Julio Martinez, who is the new leader in the rankings. The Dodgers, Rangers, Reds and Giants are among the teams to have expressed interest in signing Fox.
"I'm very excited, actually," Fox said from Nassau. "It's been my dream ever since I stepped on a baseball field. The dream is to sign a contract for a team. I'm excited to make an impact for whatever organization that gives me a chance. I'm very grateful for the opportunity."
Scouts agree Fox presents an interesting package. He's advanced, having participated in highly competitive showcases such as The Perfect Game and East Coast Pro Showcase, but he also has room to grow.
Born in the Bahamas, Fox spent 2 1/2 years as a teen in the United States before returning home to be closer to his family last May. The outfielder was later declared an international free agent by Major League Baseball, thus making him eligible for the upcoming international signing period.
"It was a great experience for me," Fox said of his time in the United States. "Getting to see different talent from different states, just playing with those guys helped me with my game. It really helped with my game a lot."
Scouts say Fox is a sure-handed fielder with quick actions with a strong enough arm to keep him at shortstop. On offense, he's known for his ability to put the ball in play and can spray the ball to all fields.
Some evaluators even consider Fox a five-tool player and the best overall athlete in the class. That's a far cry from last summer, when some domestic scouts considered the teenager a middle-of-the-pack prospect with some projection.
"A lot of [improvement] has been in me gaining weight. I gained 15 pounds, and it transformed me as a ballplayer," Fox said. "I've focused on getting bigger, faster and stronger. Improving my game and perfecting my craft. Coming home was a great experience, because I get to be with my family and coaching staff have here in the Bahamas."
Fox says trainers Geron Sands and Greg Burrows Jr. at Maximum Development Sports Academy, along with advisor Roger Tomas and Richie Palmer, one of his coaches in the United States, have been instrumental in his development in the last several months. Fox is represented in the United States by Dan Lozano's MVP Sports Group.
"I'm just a kid from the Bahamas working hard to make an impact on the sport of baseball on or off the field," Fox said. "Help young kids, donate to different organizations and play this beautiful game the Lord blessed us with."
In all, there have been six players from the Bahamas to play in the Major Leagues, with Texas Rangers outfielder Antoan Richardson, who made his debut in 2011, as the most recent. There were an estimated 30 Minor League players from the Bahamas from 1960s to the '80s, but there are only eight Minor Leaguers from the Bahamas now.
"There are some extremely athletic kids in the Bahamas, so I see that number increasing," said Sands, who played college baseball and in independent leagues in the United States. "We can play any sport once we get training and preparation for it. We make really good baseball players here."
In addition to Fox, teenage shortstop Jasardo Chishlom, 17, outfielder Larry Alcime, 16, and center fielder Tahnaj Thomas, who will be 16 in June, could also sign professional contracts with Major League teams during the upcoming international signing period.
There are an estimated 4,000 kids playing in youth leagues across the islands and around 50 playing high school or college ball in the United States.
"We are all out here chasing a dream and perfecting our craft," Fox said. "Along with U.S. and the D.R. and Cuba, watch out for the Bahamas. We'll be right there with them."