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South Side Sox Top Prospect No. 61: Matt Foster

Lights-out pitching has marked this righty’s every turn in the organization

Hot start: Foster has gotten off to another good start in 2019, with a save and a 0.00 ERA in his first four games in Birmingham.

Matt Foster
195 pounds
Throws: Right
Age: 24
SSS rank among all left-handed relief pitchers in the system: 8

Foster, a resident of the eastern Alabama community of Valley, has been quite the reliable workhorse since his varsity days. As a senior for Valley High, he logged 65 1⁄3 innings with an ERA of 0.96 and an impressive 115 strikeouts (an amazing 15.84 K/9); he finished his career with a bang, by striking out 21 hitters in his final outing. These results prompted the Arizona Diamondbacks to draft him in the 29th round in 2013, but he opted for college ball instead.

As a two-year starter for Gulf State JC in Panama City, Fla., Foster combined for a 2.06 ERA and 1.05 WHIP over a total of 144 1⁄3 innings, allowing just 114 hits and 38 walks compared to 157 strikeouts. Foster, considered one of the top JUCO transfers in the nation, stayed close to home and joined the Alabama Crimson Tide. He adjusted well there as a reliever, where he enjoyed a 2.93 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 40 innings. surrendering just 33 hits and 16 walks while striking out 49. These results let to the White Sox drafting him in 2016’s 20th round.

What Foster achieved in his first year in professional ball in 2016 was amazing. With the AZL White Sox and Great Falls, he combined for an incredible 0.61 ERA and 0.64 WHIP over the course of 22 games (29 2⁄3 IP); during that time, Foster allowed just 12 hits (.121 OBA) and seven walks (6.4 BB%) while striking out 49 (37.6 K%). He was also 11-for-11 in save opportunities. After a brief, self-imposed retirement, Foster began the 2017 campaign in June with Kannapolis and finished with Winston-Salem. Again he dominated, with a combined ERA of 1.30 and WHIP of 0.76; during his 27 2⁄3 innings, he allowed just 16 hits (.168 OBA) and five walks (4.9 BB%) while punching out 33 hitters (32.04 K%).

Foster returned to Winston-Salem to begin 2018, where he continued to excel, to the tune of a 2.57 ERA and 1.14 WHIP; he saved seven games in his 28 innings for the Dash and allowed just 25 hits (.250 OBA) and seven walks (6.4 BB%) while striking out 40 hitters (36.4 K%). With all boxes checked, Foster was promoted on June 21 to Birmingham, where he turned in solid results despite initial struggles. In 24 outings with the Barons totaling 32 innings, Foster compiled a 3.94 ERA and 1.44 WHIP by 33 hits (.264 OBA) and 13 walks (9.4%) while striking out 30 (21.7%).

Foster has an impressive repertoire. In addition to a fastball that runs up to 95 mph, he throws a sharp slider which runs 82-85, a cutter which runs 90-93, and a plus 80-83 changeup which helped limit lefties to a .185 average in 2018. In fact, throughout his minor league career, Foster has actually fared better against lefties than righties, which speaks to the quality of that changeup (which is reminiscent of former White Sox closer Keith Foulke).

Foster’s command and control have been outstanding throughout his career, with the exception of his first few outings with Birmingham. Foster returned to the Barons to start 2019, where he has appeared in four games so far, with a 0.00 ERA, a save and eight strikeouts in 5 23 innings. There’s a good chance for an early promotion to Charlotte if all goes well.

Take a look!

Video courtesy of Kim Contreras.

2019 South Side Sox Top 100 Prospects

61. Matt Foster, RHRP
62. Tate Blackman, 2B
63. Hunter Schryver, LHRP
64. Romy González, CF
65. Carlos Perez, C
66. Trey Michalczewski, 3B
67. Taylor Varnell, LHSP
68. John Parke, LHSP
69. Mike Morrison, RHRP
70. Zach Remillard, 3B
71. Luis Martinez, RHSP
72. Zach Lewis, RHSP
73. José Nin, RHRP
74. Colton Turner, LHSP
75. Jhoandro Alfonso, C
76. Ramon Beltre, 2B
77. Charlie Tilson, CF
78. Hunter Kiel, RHRP
79. Jason Bilous, RHSP
80. Nick Johnson, RHRP
81. Danny Dopico, RHRP
82. Harvin Mendoza, 1B
83. Logan Sowers, RF
84. Maiker Feliz, 3B
85. Brayan Herrera, RHSP
86. Craig Dedelow, LF
87. Wilber Pérez, RHSP
88. Kyle Kubat, LHRP
89. Johan Dominguez, RHRP
90. Mitch Roman, 2B
91. Ty Greene, C
92. Tanner Banks, LHSP
93. Jake Elliott, RHRP
94. Kevin Escorcia, LHRP
95. Luis Rodriguez, RHSP
96. Ian Dawkins, LF
97. Victor Diaz, RHRP
98. Travis Moniot, LF
99. Will Kincanon, RHRP
100. Brian Clark, LHRP

More information on South Side Top Prospects.