'Effortless power' approach working for Fox

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - In just 76 games at Double-A Frisco, Adam Fox has tied a career high 15 home runs. The 27-year-old has 11 of those round-trippers during an unbelievable streak over the last few weeks. Lone Star Dugout chatted with Fox about his torrid stretch.

Within a month, Frisco utilityman Adam Fox has gone from disastrous season at the plate to career year.

Through the month of June, Fox was batting just .217 with four doubles, one triple, and four home runs. The struggles continued through the first part of July.

And then the switch clicked on. Fox became the hottest hitter in the system.

Fox was so hot towards the end of July, he wound up winning Lone Star Dugout's Minor League Player of the Month after batting .347 with eight round-trippers in 75 at-bats.

But the hot streak hasn't ended. In fact, it's beginning to feel like there is no end in sight. The 27-year-old is 14-for-36 [.389] with two doubles and three homers in August. Fox's 15 home runs for the season have matched his career high, set in 2004 with the Stockton Ports in nearly twice the at-bats.

Fox has always been an asset to the Rangers' organization due to his ability to play above-average defense at a number of positions, his leadership skills, and the fire he plays the game with.

Now, the Ohio University product is developing into a different player. He still has all the aforementioned skills, but Fox appears to be developing into a consistent hitter with above-average power.

At the end of the 2009 season, Fox will become a minor league free agent for the first time in his career. He could re-join the Rangers' organization, or he could sign with another club if they present a better opportunity.

Despite the looming uncertainty, Fox is playing the best baseball of his career at the right time.

Jason Cole: Your month of July at the plate was perhaps the best month of your entire professional career. Just talk about your month.

Adam Fox: It has been kind of a long process, working with Brant Brown—our hitting coach—and Mike Micucci, our manager. We're just trying to keep my swing kind of smooth and simple.

With me, I've always tried to do a little more than I need to. And I think it affects how I swing the bat. We've kind of stuck with a plan, and this month it kind of caught on. I'm starting to have more consistent at-bats and hit for a little more power and hit for a little more average.

That's basically it. I've worked just as hard every other month. It's not a matter of working hard. It's just that some things came together and I got some pitches to hit and did something with them this month.

Cole: You mentioned smooth and simple. Can you go a little more in-depth about that? Exactly what does being more smooth and simple mean?

Fox: Yeah. It basically starts with my setup. As soon as I step in the box, it starts out with breathing. Just making sure I'm breathing and slowing everything down in my mind. If a guy is out there throwing 95 mph, I want to say to myself, ‘Okay, I'm going to slow down. I'm not going to speed up.' That's the initial setup.

And then I changed—I kind of just set the bat on my shoulder now when I start. Then I just lift it off. That's the first thing that moves. I just try to find the pitcher's timing as he's warming up.

I guess I've taken my shoulders out of my swing a little more. I swung a lot with my shoulders and upper body, and I haven't utilized the bat speed in the right spot. Basically, my bat speed—the fastest part of my swing is out front now instead of where I start my swing. It is maximizing my swing and getting the most out of it.

It's kind of like how Fred Couples would talk about his golf swing. It's effortless power, not powerless effort. That's what Brownie is real big on. He's real big on having good tempo—being smooth throughout your swing and not overswinging or overstriding. And having good balance.

Just staying with that swing and if you lose it, knowing why and being able to go back and find that swing. That's basically one thing that I think Brownie has really pushed on me, and I think it has helped out a lot.

Cole: This is your first year of working with Brant Brown, I believe. It sounds like he has helped you out quite a bit.

Fox: Yeah, he has. I mean, I don't want to say more than other hitting coaches. I think it's just me finally accepting that I have to make a change. I've got to do something to get my numbers a little better and have more consistent at-bats.

I think I've finally—I don't want to say figured it out—but I've figured something out that keeps me a little more consistent. And I think that's what Brownie has done for me.

Cole: You've always had a little bit of power, but suddenly you're hitting home runs left and right, getting eight in July alone. Have you always felt like you've had that kind of power potential?

Fox: Yeah, I truly have. I always felt the potential was always there. It's just about getting that pitch and not missing it. I feel like I could've hit more last month. I did miss some pitches and I had some bad at-bats. Maybe if I cut down on a couple of those strikeouts and not foul back a pitch that I thought I was right on. Things like that.

And a lot of it—I felt good all month. I wasn't really tired. I was getting my rest. My brother in law was in town. I don't know—he left before this road trip. He was in town for the whole month, so I said, ‘You know, if this road trip goes bad, you're coming right back out here.'

It's just one of those things that kind of worked out last month. I got rest, I felt good, and I didn't hit that stretch where I was real tired and trying to find my swing. I was able to maintain it pretty much for the whole month. That's what I'm going to try to do the rest of the way out. That's the hard part.

Cole: You've still done a lot of moving around the field this year, but lately it has mostly been third base and designated hitter. Does not having to move around the field as much—having the luxury of playing with three other infielders that play multiple positions—help you focus a little more at the plate?

Fox: That's kind of tough, because I'm kind of used to bouncing around and being able to do that. But actually I think this month, I did put a little more focus on the hitting aspect. And I don't want to say I put more time into it, but I think mentally I just kind of settled myself in on my swing and my approach.

I kind of didn't spend as much time on the defensive side. So it might have hurt a little bit. I went over to third the other day, and I had that feeling that I was a little bit rusty because I haven't been there too much.

It has mostly been DH and once or twice a series at third. Usually I never feel like that, but after maybe a month or month and a half of not really playing just there, it kind of felt a little different. But after two games of playing it, I felt pretty good.

But I don't think it really has anything to do with my focus or whatever if I'm bouncing around and playing multiple positions because, like I said, I'm pretty used to it.

Cole: This is your minor league free agency year. Is there any pressure on you to show the Rangers organization something or prove something to other organizations with the uncertainty after this season?

Fox: Definitely. I've thought about it a lot this year. I've talked to my wife about it. I have a couple of friends that went into free agency this past year, and some guys couldn't find jobs. Guys that had been playing nine or ten years.

It could be my last year as a Ranger. I'm definitely going to be a free agent at the end of this season. I want to give them everything I've got, because they've been there for me. They've helped me and my family out, and I can't say enough about the Rangers organization and how much of a class act they are.

You hear it from other guys that come in here—other guys that are free agents. You hear how things are run, how things are neat, and how things are professional. How the guys get taken care of here compared to maybe some other places. I'm not going to put down any other players because I've never been anywhere else and I don't know. But just hearing that from some older guys and some vets.

There's an opportunity here. Something could happen tomorrow. One of the guys could go down. If I'm the hottest hitter at the time, maybe they'll give me a shot. That's all I can ask for.

I've had a job for seven years with them, and I can't complain too much. I've been stuck in Double-A the past five years, but it's a great place to play. Frisco is a nice place to play. My family is comfortable there.

I'm just going to give the Rangers everything I have the rest of the way out. If something comes up in the offseason, whether it's an opportunity possibly to play somewhere else, or to be able to help somebody out at the big league level or the Triple-A level, then we'll look at that then. That's what my agents are for. Right now, I'm just going to focus on the task at hand and try to make the most of it.

Cole: We've talked about the hunting website that you run with Corey Ragsdale and a few other people. I checked it out and it seems like a solid operation, so I wanted to give you an opportunity to plug it.

Fox: Yeah, it's called Whitetail Affliction. I'm a big deer hunter in the offseason. I'm filming for a company called Midwest Whitetail. So there are two different websites—www.whitetailaffliction.com and then there's www.midwestwhitetail.com.

It's just a fun little hobby—not much money to be made there, really. There are so many people in the hunting industry. But I just do it for enjoyment.

My family—my wife's side of the family—they're involved in the hunting industry pretty big. So me, my two brother in laws, and my wife's cousin. One of the other Gulvas boys in the family. Kristy's side of the family. We're all going to do that this year. It'll be a fun little thing to do and promote both websites. It's a hobby.

Cole: The first time I checked out Whitetail Affliction, I saw a video of you right on the front page.

Fox: That's right. There's a video of me shooting a Pennsylvania wild coyote with my bow and arrow from 20 feet up in the air in my tree stand. If you get on there and check out those videos, I'm on there.

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