MLB Draft: Texas Rangers Swing Big on 1st Round Pick Justin Foscue

Nick Solak #15 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Nick Solak #15 of the Texas Rangers (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /

The Texas Rangers took a big gamble selecting Justin Foscue in the first round of the MLB Draft

It’s always a mystery as to what the Texas Rangers are going to do in the MLB Draft. Their sorted history and notorious track record indicate it’s often a mystery to them as well. Sometimes it’s a high-risk/high-reward of a high schooler, sometimes it’s the high-floor/low-ceiling of a college player. This year it was reaching on an overachieving hitter with limited defensive value.

In what MLB Draft analyst Keith Law called “the biggest reach in the first round (at the time)” the Texas Rangers selected Mississippi State second baseman Justin Foscue with their first pick in the draft. The 6-foot-0, 203 lb hitter won the hearts of the Rangers with his motivation, personal determination, and above all – his ability to make contact with the ball.

Justin Foscue went undrafted coming out of high school, but the late bloomer picked up momentum soon after and moved his way up draft boards. Foscue entered draft week ranked 40th by Baseball America and 32nd by MLB Pipeline. Both rankings a far cry from 14 where the Texas Rangers selected him.

Playing in the SEC, Foscue put up a slash line of .324/.416/.439/.855 with 14 homeruns in his last full season (2019). Throughout his college career he’s improved his batting average and power. Offensively, the analytics community loves him.

Even the critical David Schoenfield from ESPN had good things to say about Foscue’s future with the Rangers:

"“If the models are correct, Foscue could move quickly through the system and displace the OBP-impaired Rougned Odor at second base.”"

Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News speculated the reason the Rangers drafted him could be twofold:

  1. He’s a self-motivated player and developed hitter who can survive the COVID crisis (no minor league season).
  2. He can be signed for below slot value which will allow the Rangers to take some big swings later in the MLB Draft.

Both of those ideas make sense given the unique nature of this coming season and the challenges it brings. Perhaps the Texas Rangers are operating on script and in order for the other picks to work they had to start with Foscue first. It’s tough to tell until we see the next phase of the draft unfold.

What’s clear is Justin Foscue is a likeable prospect who may be ready to contribute sooner rather than later. He has upside but he’s generally seen as a high-floor/low-ceiling guy in the Nick Solak mold.

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The Texas Rangers made a big reach in the first round when they selected Justin Foscue 14th overall – let’s hope it’s all part of the bigger plan.

  • Published on 06/11/2020 at 11:01 AM
  • Last updated at 06/11/2020 at 08:08 AM