Over the last several drafts, the Yankees have selected players to address weaknesses in their minor-league system. Justin Foscue from Mississippi State University is a player who may fit the Yankees’ organizational need at two of their weaker positions. With an advanced bat, and the ability to play second and third base, Foscue is certainly on the Yankees’ radar and a real option when they select 28th overall.
After not being drafted coming out of high school, Foscue put together a mediocre freshman season at Mississippi State. Following a summer in upstate New York, playing for the Amsterdam Mohawks of the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League, Foscue returned to campus ready to break out. He improved so much that his bat may carry him into the first round.
Since the start of his sophomore season, Foscue has hit .329 with a .404 OBP and 16 home runs in 83 games. During that stretch the also showed his ability to get the bat on the ball by striking out just nine percent of the time.
Scouts see outstanding raw power, giving him the ability to hit 20 or more home runs consistently in his career. The contact and power mix drawn him Jeff Kent comps on the higher end of his ceiling.
One concern about Foscue’s bat is that he failed to put up the gaudy numbers produced by some of his teammates while playing for Team USA’s collegiate team this past summer. It was only a 12 game sample size, but some scouts give extra weight to a players performance with a wood bat in this high-level environment.
The Yankees’ evaluation of Foscue’s defense may determine how high he is on their draft board. On most scouting reports, he is listed as a second baseman, and he’s expected to leverage his tools to become at least average at the position. While at Mississippi State, he played a significant amount of time at third base, so some feel that he is an option at that position moving forward.
As more of an offense-first second baseman, he would compare to previous Yankees prospects of the last decade in Rob Refsynder and Nick Solak. Refsynder was never able to match the hype or production from his minor-league career when he reached the majors. Solak never generated as much hype coming through the system and was traded away in the deal for Brandon Drury. This past season he excelled in his first 33 major-league games for Texas, producing a 0.7 WAR while playing multiple positions.
The Yankees’ system has one stud prospect at second base in Ezequiel Duran. There is not a consensus among scouts on him as an elite prospect. FanGraphs ranks him as a top-100 prospect in all of baseball while other rankings have him near the bottom of a top-30 organizational ranking of just Yankees prospects. The Yankees do not have a full-time third baseman on any of their top-30 prospects list
Foscue is currently ranked as the 32nd best draft prospect by MLB Pipeline and 40th by Baseball America. Bleacher Report, in their most recent mock draft, had the Yankees taking Foscue with the 28th overall pick. Some other mock drafts have had him coming off the board earlier, but there is a good chance that he should be available when the Yankees make their first pick.
Justin Foscue would immediately become one of the most advanced bats in the Yankees’ organization. His blend of contact, power, and plate discipline could lead him to move rapidly through the system. If the Yankees choose to select Foscue, they would continue their trend from the last few years of addressing the weakest parts of their system through the draft.