Scouting the Prospects in the Matt Moore Deal

Bahamian (won’t ever get tired of typing that) SS Lucius Fox is headed to Tampa Bay as the primary prospect return for LHP Matt Moore. Fox was receiving late-first-round grades as a domestic amateur before reclassifying as an international prospect before his senior year and signing for $6.5 million during last year’s J2 period. Fox ranked third on FanGraphs’ 2015 J2 sortable board and was #2 in my personal rankings.

Fox turned 19 last month and is extremely young for the full-season Sally League, where he was hitting .207/.305/.277. Fox’s body was simply not ready for full-season ball. Though he’s exceptionally twitchy and athletic, he hasn’t matured enough to compete and succeed at that level. There’s bat speed here as well as feel for moving that barrel around the zone and Fox has the physical tools to be an above-average hitter who pulls out a dozen or so annual homers. The left-handed swing has more power potential than his more conservative right-handed cut.

Fox’s defensive actions are of shortstop quality and I think he’ll remain there long term, though some scouts have doubts about his arm strength playing there. I think there’s more arm coming as he matures. His footwork is quick and efficient while his range, because of a quick first step and comfortably plus speed, is excellent. I think he’s a future plus defender at shortstop and has star-level value potential, exactly the kind of player Tampa should be trying to acquire via trade.

Lucius Fox, Tool Profile
Tool Present Future
Hit 20 55
Raw Power 30 40
Game Power 20 40
Run 60 70
Field 45 60
Throw 55 60
FV 50

RHP Michael Santos will be referred to as the deal’s tertiary piece, but he’s a solid prospect in his own right. A projectable 6-foot-4, Santos has been of interest to clubs (like Tampa Bay) who scout Rookie-level ball since his 2014 debut. His fastball sits in the low 90s but has been up to 95 in short bursts.

Santos delivers from a high three-quarters arm slot and mixes in a curveball, slider and changeup, all of which project to average. He fills the strike zone with extreme regularity and has easy plus control projection. Santos’ future ability to miss bats is going to be more reliant upon his ability to locate his secondaries than it is pure development of his stuff. He projects as a future league-average starter for me, but is still quite far away from the Majors. Reports on his makeup are excellent.

More Santos video here and here.

Michael Santos, Tool Profile
Tool Present Future
Fastball 55 60
Curveball 45 50
Slider 40 50
Changeup 45 50
Control 50 60
FV 45

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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