Detroit Tigers prospect Jace Jung may have taken some leaps.
The Detroit Tigers drafted Jace Jung with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Amateur Draft from Texas Tech University. He spent 2023 with the Tigers organization in his first full season in the minors, and he seemingly took some big leaps in his performance.
On Tuesday, Detroit Tigers prospect Jace Jung was able to take home a MiLB Gold Glove award for his performance. However, there's more to the story here than meets the eye, especially with Jung's past history of knocks on his defense.
Heck, even I was not sold on Jung's ability to patrol the field and was worried he would be positionless with the organization once he got his feet under him. The bat has always been there and continues to take strides, but fielding coming around is a bigger leap than it may seem.
Given that he went out and proved a point in 2023 with his .993 fielding percentage, making just three errors the entire season. On top of that, He was able to piece together a good performance at the plate between his time in High-A West Michigan and Double-A Erie.
In total, Jung managed 575 plate appearances over 125 games. He slashed .265/.376/.502 with 27 doubles, eight triples, and 28 home runs, driving in 82 runs. He only spent 47 games with Double-A Erie, but he moved up the ranks and found his way up the ladder.
The steps he took defensively helped him settle in well, and the Tigers' organization should be happy with how things went. I'll be the first to admit I was not as high on Jung as others, and the defensive worries were something that concerned me, but Jung has done an excellent job since coming into the organization.
On top of that, in 2024, he could take some even further leaps. There's a chance Jung ends up in the big leagues with the Detroit Tigers MLB roster. While he could very much so end up playing second base for the Tigers in 2024, but there are still some roadblocks to that.
Jung did not spend any time in Triple-A with the Toledo Mud Hens in 2023. He's not required to do so, and he could very much so skip Triple-A to jump into the big leagues, but this new regime will likely take their time to promote Jung, so I cannot imagine Jung will jump right into the big leagues.
But that does not mean he could get a quick Triple-A stint to start off the 2024 season. Depending on what the Tigers' 26-man roster looks like heading into Spring Training, second and third base could end up being a weak spot.
There's a long road ahead, but closing the book on 2023, Jung finished on a high note, and 2024 could allow for him to continue moving upward.