Detroit Tigers: Jace Jung looks a little different in the batters' box this spring

State Farm College Baseball Showdown
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Detroit Tigers prospect Jace Jung looking to capitalize on strengths.

Last summer, the Detroit Tigers selected infielder Jace Jung with the 12th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft. Jung is a product of Texas Tech University, where he shined in the batters' box for the Red Raiders and was thought to be one of the better hitters in the draft class.

I'll be the first to admit there are players I thought were better options still on the draft board when the Detroit Tigers selected Jung. I still feel that some players who went after Jung were better for the Tigers organization, but that was the Al Avila era, and Jung is the draft choice; too late to change things now.

Jung has the makings of a hitter, and the numbers will help back that up with a glance at his NCAA statistics. With Texas Tech in 2022, Jung hit .335/.481/.612 with 18 doubles, a triple, and 14 home runs while driving in 57 runs over 224 at-bats.

He jumped into the Tigers organization and logged 30 games with the High-A West Michigan Whitecaps. Jung hit .232/.373/.333 with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBI over 108 at-bats as he made his affiliate ball debut.

He may only have a handful of at-bats in-game this Spring, but Jung has shown that he's significantly changed his operation in the batters' box. Here's an open-side look at Jung from the 2022 NCAA season, where you can clearly see the unorthodox setup he became known for.

He was known for that barrel tilt point backward, with the hands being above the shoulders. He has pop with loft in the swing. Quick hands and the ability to lift the ball are what made Jung such an intriguing prospect.

The ability to stride forward and leverage the baseball can be seen in videos from CF and open-side. He gets the hands to it and drives it. Jung needs to continue getting better as he works through the organization, utilizing his strengths and attacking pitches he can drive, but he has time.

Coming into this spring, it seems he's already making changes to try and help him capitalize on his strengths. His setup is a bit different, not by much, but enough to get the hands in a different starting position.

The feet are still open, with the weight being mostly on the back leg. The hands are what is key. Rather than being as tilted back with the barrel parallel to the ground, he starts with the barrel higher. The back elbow is still up and hands back, but the barrel is pointed more vertical rather than horizontal.

The hands shift as he coils up the front side and loads up to do damage. Jung does a good job trying to get the hands directly to the baseball and rotating through contact. He can get a bit long at times, but the initial move of the hands is still direct. It's more of a disconnect between the hands and hips as he rotates, and the barrel is behind; you can see this in the second pitch of the clip above.

At heel strike, he starts to open the hips and turn through the swing, but the hands are just a tick behind. While it's not the most off-timing swing in the world, it shows what can happen at times. The result is him behind just behind this pitch for the whiff.

Jung is still going to hit and get it done, but he's got to come out in 2023 and show why he was the team's first-round draft choice last summer. He's looking like he's on a good development track and continuing to make changes, so that forecasts good things for Jung; he needs to piece it all together.

He's someone to watch this year in the minors. Tigers fans should pay attention to how 2023 goes for prospect Jace Jung in his first full summer with the organization. After all, he did come in at no.8 on our MCB countdown of the Tigers' top 30 prospects heading into 2023.

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