Former Amsterdam Mohawks infielder Justin Foscue on Wednesday became the team’s highest draft pick in history when he was selected 14th overall by the Texas Rangers in the Major League Baseball Draft.
Foscue came to Amsterdam in 2018 following his freshman season at Mississippi State and hit .304 with two home runs and nine runs batted in over 17 regular-season games, helping the Mohawks reach the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League championship series, which the team eventually lost to the Jamestown Jammers.
Foscue played third base for the Mohawks that summer and was a late arrival in Amsterdam after starting for Mississippi State during the Bulldogs’ surprise run to the College World Series.
“There’s a kid who just worked and worked,” said Mohawks team president and general manager Brian Spagnola, “and was obviously a very good player who started at Mississippi State as a freshman, but he made himself — through hard work and everything just clicking — into a great player. To be the 14th overall pick in the draft is just amazing.”
Spagnola and his family also served as Foscue’s host family during the infielder’s time in Amsterdam.
“He’s from a great family,” Spagnola said. “His family was up here for a good week or so, went to a ton of games, came to our house for some cookouts and stuff. . . . When we went to Mississippi State the following year to visit, they helped us get some seats down by the dugout, actually. Just great people, a great family. We couldn’t be happier for them all.”
Back at Mississippi State, Foscue moved to second base and turned in an excellent season in 2019, hitting .331 with 14 homers and 60 RBIs. He was named an All-American by various organizations in 2019 and garnered first-team All-SEC honors at second base.
In 16 games this spring prior to the cancellation of the college baseball season due to COVID-19, the 6-foot, 203-pound Huntsville, Alabama native hit .321 with two home runs and 16 RBIs.
With his selection, Foscue became the highest-drafted player to have ever worn a Mohawks uniform, surpassing Wake Forest and 2016 Mohawk Griffin Roberts, who was picked 43rd overall by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2018.
Shenendehowa High School product Ian Anderson, drafted third overall by the Atlanta Braves in 2016, had committed to play with the Mohawks that summer, but opted instead to sign his professional contract.
Foscue could become a teammate of Ian Anderson’s twin brother, Ben Anderson — also a former Mohawk — who was selected by the Rangers in 2019. Ben Anderson was one of a record 21 former Mohawks players who were drafted last season, shattering both the franchise and league record.
Three former Amsterdam Mohawks — Chandler Shepherd, Luke Maile and Trey Wingenter — played in the major leagues in 2019. A fourth, Mark Leiter Jr., spent parts of the previous two seasons in the big leagues before missing 2019 due to injury. The franchise is also represented in the majors by Hunter Pence, who played for the Mohawks
Later Wednesday night, Foscue’s Mississippi State teammate Jordan Westburg — who also played in the PGCBL in 2018 with the Elmira Pioneers — was drafted 30th overall by the Baltimore Orioles.
The draft, shortened from the traditional 40 rounds to five this year, concluded Thursday evening.
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.