Detroit Tigers Top 30 Prospects for 2024: #5 Jace Jung

Continuing with the countdown of top Detroit Tigers prospects, we're at the last five. Jace Jung comes in at fifth on the MCB Top 30 list.
Detroit Tigers infielder Jace Jung practices during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla.
Detroit Tigers infielder Jace Jung practices during spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla. / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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Jace Jung's murky defensive outlook with the Detroit Tigers

Listen, I don't want to sit here and bang the "Jace Jung can't play defense" drum anymore. I have been a big critic of his since he was drafted. He could not hack it at third base in college and seemed doomed at second base with a physical upside of Max Muncy, who had to shift to first base.

However, Jung has come a long way with his defense. He has proven that he can play good enough defense to hack it in the big leagues and even got some praise from Alan Trammell after last fall. It's a step in the right direction, as Detroit has even come out and started pushing him to improve at third base, hoping there's a chance he could move around the diamond. Plus, we all know how much Scott Harris loves his versatility.

The one thing working against Jung is the extension of Colt Keith. It feels like he's destined to break camp with the team and start pushing to prove himself in the big leagues. This likely happens as a second or third baseman. That being said, Jung will have to find himself a spot with the Tigers down the line.

The combination of Jung's physical stature that projects as a 1B/DH kind of role makes it less promising. But I'm trying to be the optimist here, hoping that Keith shifts to third and Jung can play some second base in the big leagues. If not, I'd bet he becomes like Muncy and is more of a 1B/2B kind of guy and DH for the team, but that brings a whole different conversation about where Spencer Torkelson would be if Jung is playing first.

Jace Jung's future outlook with the Detroit Tigers

Jung's come a long way. His defense has been better than I ever thought it would be, and he's slugged his way through some of the lower levels of the minors. The bat is the carrying piece of this profile and it has been impressive. Jung just needs to keep progressing.

With a bit of a holdup in his positional value to the Tigers, breaking camp with the team is likely out of the question. But coming to the team down the line is not out of the question. A 2024 debut could be in line if he does perform well in the minors with the Toledo Mud Hens.