clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Texas Rangers 2020 draft preview: Justin Foscue

Taking a look at potential Texas Rangers draft pick Justin Foscue

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAR 31 Mississippi State at LSU

The Texas Rangers currently have five picks in the 2020 MLB Draft, and while it is possible they could trade for a competitive balance pick from another team, it appears most likely they will have just their regular selections in each round. Their first pick is at #14 overall, and then they pick at #50, #87, #117, and #147.

In the run up to the draft, we will be highlight some players who are potential Ranger draft picks. Last year no one aside from Josh Jung that we wrote about was actually picked by the Rangers, as we mostly looked at prep players for their later picks, and they went college-heavy early in the draft for the first time in years. This year, the uncertainty over whether they will emphasize college players again or go back to prep players would make it hard to narrow down the list of potential prospects even in a normal year — the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic having shut down amateur play creates even more uncertainty about potential picks.

On the plus side, the lack of games and actual new scouting going on means that there’s going to be a lot less updated information, so a write-up I do now will likely still be more or less valid a month from now.

In any case, in the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks. Today we take a look at Mississippi State infielder Justin Foscue.

Foscue is a rare breed, an amateur second baseman who is viewed as a potential first round choice — generally speaking, amateurs who end up at second base don’t have the athleticism or defensive tools to succeed at the higher levels, or else they would be at shortstop, or perhaps third base.

Part of the reason Foscue is at second base is because Mississippi State has a shortstop, Jordan Westburg, who also is viewed as a potential first round pick. That being said, Foscue’s glove is not his strength, and he’s viewed as someone who will end up at second base in the pros, with the possibility that he could end up handling third base.

Foscue didn’t hit much as a freshman, slashing .241/.332/.353 with just 3 home runs in 58 games, through he did have a solid 22-22 walk to strikeout ratio. Foscue broke out in 2019, slashing .331/.395/.564 with 30 walks against 32 Ks in 67 games, and was off to a great start in 2020 (.321/.464/.509, 15 walks against just 3 Ks in 69 plate appearances) before the season was canceled.

Foscue isn’t toolsy — he’s not viewed as being able to handle shortstop defensively, and there are questions about whether he’ll even be able to stick at second base long term or handle third base at all as a professional. He also grades as an average to below average runner.

But what Foscue does do is hit — the hit tool is strong, he has good power, and his approach at the plate is good. Foscue also gets great reviews for his makeup, and is one of those players who is seen as being able to get the most out of their ability due to their baseball instincts and work ethic.

Baseball America has Foscue at #36 on their pre-draft top 500, questioning whether he really has a long-term position but believing in the bat. MLB Pipeline puts Foscue at #32 on their board, saying he profiles as a 20 home run guy with good contact ability. Fangraphs slots Foscue at #27 on their board, while Kiley McDaniel has Foscue at #19 on his updated board, compared to #34 in his earlier rankings. Keith Law doesn’t have Foscue list in his rankings, although he only ranks his top 30 players.

Keith Law has Foscue not going in the first round in his latest mock draft. Jonathan Mayo’s mock draft has our friend Thad Levine and the Minnesota Twins taking Foscue at #27. Kiley McDaniel’s mock draft has Foscue going to the New York Mets at #19, though he also mentions the Rangers as being in on Foscue at #14. Foscue goes to the Washington Nationals at #22 in the most recent Baseball America mock draft, while the latest version of the Jim Callis mock draft has Foscue going to the St. Louis Cardinals at #21.

Foscue is a guy who has been moving up boards of late, and he’s gone from someone expected to be taken late in the first or sometime in the second round to a guy who could be off the board in the middle of the first round. The reports all seem to indicate there is increasing buzz round him right now, and he’s on the radar of a number of teams with mid- to later-first round picks.

If we were to look at just the last 12-18 months of the Texas Rangers strategy in terms of drafting and acquiring minor league talent, Foscue would seem to be a perfect fit. When reading about him — righthanded bat with a solid approach who has a quality all-around offensive game, gets great marks for makeup, and is a second baseman but has questions about whether he can stick there — it sounds like folks talking about Nick Solak, who the Rangers acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays last summer for Peter Fairbanks.

Josh Jung and Davis Wendzel, their top two picks in the 2019 draft, fit the profile as quality college hitters with great makeup who have solid approaches at the plate, good hit tools, and some potentially untapped power potential, a profile that Foscue also fits. Foscue would also be someone who would likely sign below slot at #14, allowing the Rangers to get more aggressive with their second round pick in targeting someone who drops because of signability reasons.

A month or two ago, the thinking would have been that if the Rangers liked Foscue, there was a good chance he would be there when they picked at #50. At this point, however, Foscue almost certainly will be gone before 50, so if the Rangers think highly of him, and if he will do a below-slot deal that allows them to potential grab someone who slides at #50 for above-slot, he would be a strong candidate to be grabbed at #14.

North Carolina State catcher Patrick Bailey

University of Tennessee lefthanded pitcher Garrett Crochet

Harvard-Westlake outfielder Pete Crow-Armstrong

University of Georgia righthanded pitcher Cole Wilcox

Doylestown, Pennsylvania, righthanded pitcher Nick Bitsko

Turlock, California, catcher Tyler Soderstrom

University of Arkansas outfielder Heston Kjerstad

Mississippi State righthanded pitcher J.T. Ginn

Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, outfielder Robert Hassell III

Port Orange, Florida, outfielder Zac Veen

Refugio, Texas, righthanded pitcher Josh Kelley

Texas Tech righthanded pitcher Clayton Beeter

Arizona State catcher Austin Wells

UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell

Imperial, Pennsylvania outfielder Austin Hendrick