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Grading the White Sox: Matt Foster

A surprisingly solid 2022 campaign lurks beneath mediocre final numbers

MLB: Game Two-Cleveland Guardians at Chicago White Sox
Maybe the midseason hype was a bit much, but Matt Foster had himself a solid 2022.
Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

At midseason, the SSS staff graded the 46-46 White Sox, from the head of the class Dylan Cease down to Dallas Keuchel. We invented a WARsss metric that could very well be just a cute way to trot out our special site grades — but really for all you know could be the product of years of research in a stats lab.

Our expanded report card will take us through everyone who saw time in uniform for the White Sox, plus some front-office types. Most of our writers will take on a couple of players, with final grades and short writeups, running through the end of November. Enjoy!

Matt Foster
Right-Handed Relief Pitcher
Midseason: 2.0 WARsss
Final: 1.2 WARsss

“If it’s an even year, Matt Foster comes amped.”

So said an anonymous editor-in-chief of a certain website at the season’s midway point, and for a while, it did seem to be true: The 27-year-old looked to have rediscovered his 2020 form in the early going, ringing up a 2.55 ERA on the strength of an excellent 25-to-8 K/BB ratio in his first 24 23 innings of 2022.

His stuff was more or less unchanged from that 2020 season, or from last year’s disappointing follow-up when he found himself in Charlotte for the majority of the season after his big-league ERA ballooned to higher than six by the end of May. This year, with a changed pitch mix and relying more on a new slider than the changeup that was his lead secondary pitch in 2020 and ’21, Foster looked to have righted the ship, allowing considerably less hard contact and keeping the ball firmly on the ground to complement his average- to slightly-above average strikeout stuff.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Texas Rangers Andrew Dieb-USA TODAY Sports

At least, that’s how it looked until mid-June, at which point Foster underwent the kind of Lovecraftian week that only relief pitchers know: From June 11-22, he allowed multiple runs (12 of them in total, 10 earned) in all four of the games he pitched in and was charged with the loss in two, which included the “Cueto going five innings out of the bullpen on three days’ rest” debacle. By the time the baseball gods were through with Foster, his ERA was an unsightly 5.46, and he’d be an afterthought for the rest of the godforsaken season — even though he proceeded to post a clean 2.65 ERA in 18 subsequent appearances.

It’s worth pointing out that the brutal stretch for Foster included a brief placement on the bereavement list, the second such stint in a two-month span for the righthander. It’s certainly not for us to speculate what Foster was dealing with off the field, but it does perhaps give a new lens to his struggles: Remove that 10-day, four-game stretch in June, and Foster’s ERA for the season sits at 2.59 over a more-than-reasonable 41 23 -inning sample.

With pitchers, it’s always easy to make the look at his stats when you remove his worst games argument and make yourself look dumb in the process. This is a little different: It’s not cherry-picking a random set of games, but four contiguous appearances with a valid off-field issue thrown in the midst of it. That context in mind, it’s hard not to wonder if judging Foster by his final numbers might be a little bit unfair.

At worst, Foster was an unremarkable, low-leverage bullpen arm who generally did his job on a team with considerably more pressing bullpen issues than him. At best, he’s probably not getting enough credit for being as solid as he was for the majority of the season. Still not yet 28 and earning basically the league minimum, there’s a very strong chance Foster enters next spring with a bullpen spot in his name to lose.

2022 White Sox Grades

Matt Foster, RHRP, 1.2
Yoán Moncada, 3B, 0.92
Lenyn Sosa, SS, 0.85
José Ruiz, RHRP, 0.83
Mark Payton, OF, 0.6
Carlos Pérez, C, 0.399
Lucas Giolito, RHSP, 0.392
Adam Engel, OF, 0.237
Vince Velasquez, RHP, -0.4
Reese McGuire, C, -1.1
Kyle Crick, RHRP, -1.65
Joe Kelly, RHRP, -1.75
Daryl Boston, 1B Coach, -2.0
Anderson Severino, LHRP, -2.2
Jerry Reinsdorf, OWN, -2.321
Jake Diekman, LHRP, -2.366
Rick Hahn, GM, -2.401
Bennett Sousa, LHRP, -2.425
Frank Menechino, BAT COACH, -2.469
Yasmani Grandal, C/DH, -2.549
Leury García, UTIL, -2.7
Adam Haseley, OF, -3.146
Joe McEwing, 3B Coach, -3.167
Ryan Burr, RHRP, -3.4
Tony La Russa, MGR, -3.5
Dallas Keuchel, LHSP, -3.9


Matt Foster, wachta think?

This poll is closed

  • 21%
    Grade is too harsh, he was reliable and the numbers don’t do him justice.
    (10 votes)
  • 23%
    Grade is too easy, I forgot he was on the team.
    (11 votes)
  • 54%
    Grade is just right, I love megabullpen.
    (25 votes)
46 votes total Vote Now