Detroit Tigers top 30 prospects for 2023: No. 8 Jace Jung
We countinue our Detroit Tigers prospect ranking with second baseman Jace Jung
We're now well inside the top 10 of our 2023 Detroit Tigers prospect ranking countdown, with OF Roberto Campos and C Dillon Dingler starting us out--which brings us to the eighth slot with 2022 first round draft pick second baseman Jace Jung.
Jung was the 12th overall selection in the 2022 MLB Draft by the Detroit Tigers; the first year in which the club was not drafting in the top 10 since 2017 when they selected Alex Faedo with their 18th pick. Jung was a Big 12 college bat out of Texas Tech, the same school his brother and big-time Texas Rangers prospect Josh Jung attended.
Jung was MLB Pipeline's second-best prospect in the Detroit Tigers system in 2022 and cracked their recent Top 100 prospect ranking heading into the 2023 season, so why the discrepancy with us? MLB Pipeline is traditionally high on top draft picks and is very slow to react to pro showings.
Jung's early showings at High-A West Michigan were less than stellar: a .231/.373/.333 line with six doubles, one triple, and one home run in 30 games. Jung's mammoth 18 percent walk rate saved an otherwise abysmal pro start.
When examining Jung's profile, it's clear there is going to be some pressure on his bat in order for him to reach the above-average regular grade that MLB.com believes he will realize. Defensively Jung will not find himself on the left side of the diamond like his brother--and some wonder if he will be able to stick at second long-term, even. If Jung's defensive home becomes a first base/left field only profile, the pressure on his bat is even higher.
By comparison, Fangraphs thinks Jung will possess an above-average hit tool and power, but his 35-grade speed and 40-grade defense drag down his overall grade to a 45 FV (future value).
Jung is interesting in the sense he's not the prototypical Detroit Tigers draft selection. Even though there is some skepticism about the profile overall, Jung's hit-first mentality is a breath of fresh air to a system that has lacked superior offensive performance over the past several years, save Riley Greene and Spencer Torkelson. If Jung has a prolonged big league future, it will be thanks to his inate hitting abilities that will keep him toward the middle of lineups on a competitive club.