Foscue drawing Buster Posey comps at camp

February 25th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Justin Foscue can hit. Simple as that.

Ranked as Rangers’ No. 6 prospect by MLB Pipeline, Foscue hit .266/.394/.468 (.862 OPS) while drawing more walks (85) than strikeouts (70) with Triple-A Round Rock last season. Now, he is champing at the bit to finally make his big league debut.

“Any player that walks more than they strike out, it’s a timeless principle that's gonna really help them at the Major League level,” said Rangers offensive coordinator Donnie Ecker. “He's already got that foundation that we really like, and then you add in his contact ability.

“His demeanor in the cage is very much the way Buster Posey was. He was very quiet, very detailed, very internalized, and it's just a trait that you see with a lot of the best hitters. I like his hitting IQ. His IQ and game plan are Major League ready right now.”

But what isn’t simple is that there aren't many available spots for Foscue to play.

A natural second baseman with experience at both corner-infield spots, Foscue is blocked by an AL MVP finalist in Marcus Semien at second, an All-Star starter in Josh Jung at third and a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner in Nathaniel Lowe at first.

“I think when you're looking at how the bat played last year, we’ve got to find a position for him where he's going to be comfortable,” manager Bruce Bochy said.

Foscue appeared at second base (70 games), third base (35 games), designated hitter (nine games) and first base (nine games) with Round Rock in 2023. In camp this spring, he’s been taking ground balls mainly at the corners. But Foscue relieved Semien at second base in the Rangers’ Cactus League opener against the Royals on Friday.

Foscue said he practiced at the corners a lot this offseason, knowing that versatility might be the quickest way to the big leagues for him. He played third base in college at Mississippi State, and he has much more experience at the hot corner than he does at first.

“I feel comfortable,” Foscue said of first base. “There are some things -- like double plays, pivoting and maybe bunt plays or holding guys, all the intricacies and non-normal plays about first -- I probably need to get more work in. But I feel as comfortable as I can over there as I do it.”

Understandably, Foscue’s goal is to break camp with the big league club. He wants to be as prepared as possible for whenever that call comes. If that’s playing every position in the infield, he’s up for the challenge.

That being said, if he needs to DH, he’s more than ready for that too.

“Obviously, there's more to my game than just hitting, but I think I'm gonna be used more as a hitter in some parts of the season, and I need to be prepared for that,” Foscue said. “If I just need to go out there and worry about four or five at-bats, that's less on my mind than going out there and playing defense. If they want [me] to DH, love that. I'll take it either way.”

As Foscue enters his fourth professional season after being selected in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft, he’s looking to simply control what he while working toward that big league debut.

It’s felt like a long time coming for Foscue, who will turn 25 on Saturday.

Even as he was added to the 40-man roster this offseason and entered Spring Training in a perfect position to break camp with the Rangers, there have been roadblocks standing in Foscue's way last year, through no fault of his own.

“I was disappointed when I didn't get the call last year,” Foscue said. “I was disappointed that I wasn't on the World Series team. It stung, obviously, but it's not my decision. For me, I just want to give it everything I've got every single day.

“It's very possible for me to go out there and not have a good spring. That's baseball, that’s life. Whatever happens, I'm going to keep my head up and keep working, and I know eventually I'll get up there. I'll make a good case for myself.”