Detroit Tigers: Big fall ahead for Jace Jung as he heads out west

Jace Jung to have a busy fall as the Detroit Tigers sent him to the Arizona Fall League.
Whitecaps infielder Jace Jung swings the ball at the ball during the Whitecaps home opener Thursday,
Whitecaps infielder Jace Jung swings the ball at the ball during the Whitecaps home opener Thursday, / Cody Scanlan/Holland Sentinel / USA

Detroit Tigers sending Jace Jung out west with high expectations.

The Detroit Tigers may be putting the final touches on the 2023 season, but the team is sending a group of their players out west. They announced a half dozen players will be heading out to the Arizona Fall League (AFL) to continue with their performance.

Regarding the Detroit Tigers' prospects, they're sending a couple of former first-rounders, including 2022 first-rounder Jace Jung. The team selected him with the 12th overall pick and brought him in as a left-handed hitting infielder with plenty of upside with the stick.

He was labeled as a second baseman coming out of his collegiate days at Texas Tech, but it sounds like the team will look to switch things up moving forward. The Tigers are hoping that Jung can move to third base, which will likely be something the team works on during his time in the AFL.

Jung has not played third base since his collegiate days, but the former Red Raiders infielder was not the smoothest at the corner position. His brother, Josh, has made a name for himself as he settles in with the Texas Rangers.

However, Jung was pretty much tagged as a second baseman. He's not the smoothest defender. While he's seemingly settled in well with the team in the minor league system, the team is looking to move him to third base and add that into his positional versatility.

Frankly, the Tigers' hopes may be high, but my own are not. Jung did not have the tools to be a third baseman coming out of college and needed to shift to second base pretty much full-time. However, the Tigers seem to think he can pick it up in pro ball.

I have a hard time thinking that Jung will be able to pick it up in affiliate ball after showing he was not the most athletic at the collegiate level when handling the corner. He was not my favorite choice when the Tigers drafted him, but the bat plays.

But we're talking defense here and the idea of shifting Jung to third base, which is seemingly concerning. It gives me some concern that it may not work out super well for Jung, who moves fine at second but may not have the skill set to be smooth at third.

There have been plenty of bad third basemen in the big leagues, those whose bat carries the profile, but it worries me to be moving him around the field. The Tigers prospect jumped from High-A to Double-A this season, so adding this versatility is something the Tigers are hoping will make him an even better player overall.

In his time with High-A this summer, Jung played 81 games with the West Michigan Whitecaps. He slashed .254/.377/.465 with 18 doubles, two triples, and 14 home runs. He drove in 43 runs and walked 56 times while striking out 83 times over 366 plate appearances.

In his time at Double-A, joining the Erie SeaWolves, Jung played in 47 games where he slashed .284/.373/.563 with nine doubles, 14 home runs, and 39 RBI to his credit. He walked 23 times and struck out 56 times over 209 plate appearances.

He's heading out west this fall to get some more reps in, and try to adjust to third base as he takes part in Arizona Fall League contests.

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