Friday on the Farm: Justin Foscue is having a strong season, but he’s not pleased
His OPS has been higher than .800 most of the season, thanks to 45 extra-base hits, and the balls that weren’t clearing the outfield wall earlier in the season are flying over now.
He’s been a steady bat at Double A Frisco, which is hunting for a postseason berth in large part because of the season he’s had.
The 2020 first-round pick (14th overall) is the 82nd-ranked prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com.
That player is Justin Foscue, and, despite all of that, he’s not happy with his 2022 campaign.
His .845 OPS entering Friday could be/should be .900. He could have/should have hit 20 or 30 home runs. That’s the kind of season he believes he’s capable of producing.
What he has been able to accomplish is a solid, above-league-average season that has reinforced the Rangers’ belief in him.
“I’ve felt good all year, but the difference now is I’m not missing pitches,” Foscue said. “It felt like my freshman year of college again. When I say that, at that level at the time, I felt like I belonged at that level, right? No pitching was overpowering for me. I was just missing pitches. I would get my pitch and I’d pop it up or I’d ground out. I just missed it, but I felt on it.
“This year, I was still getting hits, I was still getting doubles, but they weren’t, like, loud hits. So I kept missing pitches. I made a little bit of a tweak in my swing and that made it easier to not miss pitches.”
Foscue had only six home runs at the end of July, though with 23 doubles. He launched six homers in August and has two more so far this month. He isn’t only a slugger, though the Rangers believe he has 30-homer potential in the majors.
Foscue’s average has hovered between .280 and .290 much of the season, and it sits at .286 entering the final weekend. Frisco should clinch a spot in the Texas League playoffs.
The one thing he hadn’t proven is an ability to stay healthy, and even in spring training he was knocked off course by a back injury. Foscue, though, will reach 400 at-bats this weekend, and his ability to stay on the field is what excites him most about this season.
“The biggest thing was getting a routine to get my body activated before the day,” he said. “And once I got that down, and it was key, so I do it every day and haven’t had any issues all year.”
The one issue going forward is where he will play with Marcus Semien entrenched at second base. The Rangers have tried Foscue at third base, where Josh Jung appears to be locked in, and have told him to be ready to play other positions next season so that they can find a way to get his bat in the lineup.
He has multiple advocates in player development who believe he can hit 30 home runs in the majors. He will likely need time at Triple A Round Rock, but the belief is Foscue is going to continue to improve.
“There are very few guys that are at Double A or Triple A, Double A in particular, with .850ish OPS seasons with double-digit walk rates and 15 percent or less strikeout rates,” said Rangers vice president Ross Fenstermaker, who oversees player development. “It’s a pretty good profile, and all he’s ever done is hit. There’s a lot of confidence that he’s going to hit.”
Foscue is confident, too. As long as he hits, he has a future with the Rangers no matter how crowded their infield is.
“I believe in myself,” he said. “I know in my heart I’m a hitter.”
Jeff Wilson, email@example.com