Scouting Report: Texas Rangers Take 3B Josh Jung at 8th Overall
By Kenneth Nash
The Texas Rangers have made their first pick of the 2019 MLB Draft taking 3rd baseman, Josh Jung, out of Texas Tech with the 8th overall pick.
The much anticipated 2019 MLB Draft got off to a start earlier this evening in the expected order. The Orioles got things started with Oregon State catcher, Adley Rutschman and the rest of the picks went as planned. The question was whether the Reds would pass on TCU ace, Nick Lodolo with the 7th pick leaving him for Texas. Cincinnati took the Horned Frog left-hander leaving Texas a number of quality players to choose from. Despite quality pitchers like prep star Jackson Rutledge and West Virginia standout, Alek Manoah, the Rangers opted for Texas Tech slugger Josh Jung (pronounced “young”).
Who is Josh Jung?
Jung is a 21-year old slugger for the Red Raiders out in Lubbock. The San Antonio native stands at 6’2″ and 215 lbs. representing an imposing figure in the batter’s box. As a freshman, Jung was voted Big 12 Freshman of the Year and named to the All-Big 12 Second Team. He racked up some freshman All-American honors after starting all 62 games at 3rd base for Texas Tech. He hit .306 as a freshman and drove in 43 runs with an on-base percentage approaching .400.
He built on his successful freshman campaign by hitting a stunning .392 his sophomore season blasting 12 home runs and racking up 80 runs batted in while seeing nearly a 100 point increase in his on-base percentage. He got the opportunity to play for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and racked up more All-American honors. He was also a unanimous selection to the All-Big 12 First Team.
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His Junior season was a bit of a step back but by no means was it unsuccessful. Jung has hit .340 to this point in 57 games played with an OPS of 1.086 compared to a 2018 OPS of 1.130.
Defensively, Jung has some questions about whether or not he can stay at the hot corner but for every scout who questions his long-term positioning, there’s another who says he can stick there as a quality defender.
Instant Pick Reaction
The Rangers were rumored to be looking at under slot value options with this 8th overall pick and Jung could be that guy but not by much. He was ranked by MLB.com as the 16th overall prospect in the draft but that shouldn’t be viewed as a reach by the Rangers. Jon Daniels noted before the draft that 3rd base was a position Texas lacked some organizational depth at so Jung obviously helps fill that void.
I’m a big fan of this selection for a couple of reasons. First off, Jung looks like a serious MLB hitter. He has a good bat that can generate some power but he also has the plate discipline to go with it. Scouts think he can build on his power but his overall plate ability gives him high upside. Additionally, he seems like he could be a fast mover within the organization. As a college junior and position player, he is the type of player that can climb the minor league levels quickly and perhaps be an impact player in Arlington in the next few years.
If we’re slapping instant grades on the pick, I’d give this one an A-. Perhaps they could’ve gone Manoah or even prep 3rd baseman Brett Baty as better value selections, but Jung fits what the Rangers are looking to fill their organization with as they move into this new era as a club.