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Prospect Profile: The Curious Case of Zack Cox


Feb 23, 2013; St. Louis, MO, USA; Miami Marlins third baseman Zack Cox (86) connects for an rbi base hit against the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium. The Marlins defeated the Cardinals 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Remember Zack Cox? He’s the former first round draft pick the Marlins got from the Cardinals last season in the Edward Mujica deal. At the time it looked like a big win for the Marlins – Cox was struggling, but it was only half a season, and they needed a third baseman. All they had to give up was a middle reliever.

Now, Mujica is closing in St. Louis to the tune of 24 saves and a 2.39 ERA.

But that’s not the point of this. Cox was acquired just after the Marlins traded their only third base prospect, Matt Dominguez, to the Astros for Carlos Lee last season. It seemed like Cox was going to be the third baseman of the future.

Then something weird happened.

With Cox’s struggles for the Cardinals at AAA (.254/.294/.421), the Marlins sent him to AA. He was injured for some of the season, and finished with a slash line of just .253/.321/.368 and 1 home run in 95 at bats.

Then something weirder happened.

At the end of spring training, the Marlins waived Cox. They just waived him. Decided they didn’t want him on the 40 man roster anymore, and took a chance to see if anyone else wanted him. This was the only real third base prospect the Marlins had. This was the player had named the Marlins’ number 9 prospect heading into the season. And they waived him.

Then the weirdest thing happened.

No one claimed him.

So the Marlins sent him to AA again to begin this season, where again he battled injuries, but this time, his stat line was slightly better – he hit .281/.381/.371 in 167 at bats. I didn’t type that incorrectly – as a third baseman, he slugged .371. He hit one home run – and it just came the other day. So what did the Marlins do? They promoted him to AAA New Orleans.

Cox was hitless in two games with the Zephyrs, then injured himself fielding a grounder last Friday, so he’s back on the disabled list.

The events surrounding Zack Cox over the past calendar year have become increasingly stranger. He was never a power hitter, to be sure, but he’s forgotten how to hit with even the small amount of power he had. The Marlins took him off the 40 man roster. He can’t stay healthy. But through all this, he’s still just 24 years old. Does he still have a shot with the Marlins at some point? Sure – the team is currently playing Ed Lucas and Placido Polanco at the hot corner. Last month, of course, the Marlins selected Colin Moran in the first round of the draft. He’s tabbed as the third baseman of the future now, and he’s expected to fly through the system. But you never know how Moran will turn out – weird things happen all the time to first round draft picks.

Just ask Zack Cox.