With the new year right around the corner and a fresh look Ranger team, there is plenty to anticipate ahead of the 2022 season.
The additions of Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Jon Gray are all exciting, with more on the way. But perhaps none more exciting than the upcoming June draft.
Coming off another poor season, the Texas Rangers are primed to add another top talent to their already rising farm system, which according to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com is the second most improved system in all of Major League Baseball. They began the 2021 season ranked 21st, but have jumped ten spots to number 11.
Since 2018, the Texas Rangers have put themselves in a position to succeed in the early-to-mid 2020’s, drafting stud righty Cole Winn in 2018, Josh Jung in 2019, Justin Foscue in 2020 and the ace in the hole we’ve desperately needed, Jack Leiter in 2021.
With more talent coming in via the trade market, I.e. Ezequiel Duran, Josh Smith and Glenn Otto, the Texas Rangers are laying the foundation of a successful big league and minor league season in 2022.
However, with the third overall pick, they could bolster that loaded farm system even more with a familiar name to many following the team: Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung.
The Texas Rangers could draft Jace Jung in the 2022 MLB Draft and pair him with his brother Josh Jung
The Rangers right now are loaded with infield depth, from the big leagues to the lowest minor league affiliate, but I’m here to say that Jace Jung could be one of the two best options fit for Texas this summer.
There is an old saying that too much of a good thing is a bad thing, right? Well, the infield depth amassed by the Texas Rangers could be more in line with the old Alan Jackson song.
Looking at the Rangers’ bevy of infielders, not all of them will 1. stick in the infield and 2. be apart of the organization when they become competitive again.
The Texas Rangers like to draft athletes, guys not locked down to one position. They’ve found that in guys like Eli White (via trade), Chris Seise, Davis Wendzel and others. But with only so many spots on the roster, some guys will have to switch positions (I.e. Willie Calhoun from second base to the outfield) or will get dealt to bring in pieces to help make a playoff push.
So, why would the Texas Rangers want to add another Jung brother to the organization? Well, let’s start with the genetics.
His older brother and 2nd best prospect in the system, Josh Jung, will inevitably be the third baseman of the future for the Texas Rangers. In three years at Texas Tech, Jung batted .348/.455/.577/1.032 with 33 homeruns, 181 RBIs and walked more than he struck out (128/120).
In the minor leagues, Josh has only produced, as well. Jung went from rookie ball all the way to AAA in less than two full seasons in the Rangers’ farm system. His slash line through his two MiLB seasons looks like this: .322/.394/.538/.932 with 21 homers and 89 RBIs.
The right-handed swinging third baseman also has expressed a willingness to move around the diamond, seeing some time at shortstop, as well.
Not too shabby for a guy who will just turn 24-years old a month before Spring Training begins.
As for Jace, the sophomore Red Raider has crushed in his two seasons in Lubbock. He had a decent freshman season, batting .264 over 19 games for Texas Tech, slugging four homers and driving in 23. But something clicked during his second season, and he told the “sophomore slump” to kiss it.
He hit .337 over 56 games, watching his power numbers shoot up from four homers to 21, walking 49 times while striking out only 45 times. He drove in 67 runs and got on-base at a .462 clip.
He also received Academic All-American during his time there, as well.
The younger Jung has a smooth left-handed swing that generates easy opposite-field power, but can hit them as far as anyone in college baseball when he turns around on one.
He’s been primarily a second baseman in his career, but after working with former MLB All-Star Troy Tulowitzki with Team USA, he could definitely handle a shift to the left side of the infield.
With third, short and second covered for the foreseeable future, where does Jace Jung fit into the Rangers’ future plans? I’d argue a shift to the outfield, or maybe, a positional switch by either of the Jung brothers.
Jace Jung has average-to-good speed and a decent arm, which could play in left field at the big league level. While he’s definitely a bat-first guy, don’t sleep on his defensive capabilities. Something most Ranger fans are learning with his older brother.
Another scenario could be watching his brother Josh move across the diamond to first base, moving Semien to third and having Jace slot in at second base. If Josh Jung is still dealing with a tender ankle in a few years, first base could be the best option for him.
Not ideal now, but imagine an aging Marcus Semien being able to shift over to the hot corner and allowing the Jung brothers to play on the right side of the diamond.
Pretty surreal, right?
How about a history-making duo, too. There have only been 100 sets of brothers play together in Major League Baseball history. The last to do so? John and Jordan Danks in 2012. Out of the nearly 20,000 men to have played the game at its highest level, that would be a pretty impressive feat.
If I’m the Texas Rangers, I’m falling in love with the Jung brother’s bats and need their above-average bat-to-ball skills in my lineup for a long time. With the game shifting to players being more “three true outcome” guys *cough cough, Joey Gallo* the Rangers could try and swing the pendulum back the other way.
They’ll have the big-boppers in their lineup with Semien, Seager and others on the way, but need guys who can do both at the top and middle of their order. With speedsters Leody Taveras and Bubba Thompson still in the organization for now, they could become one of the deadliest offenses in baseball history.
Speed. Average. Power. AMAZING pitching depth.
Plus, who wouldn’t want to see both Jung brothers go deep in a game? One from the left-side, one from right. Man, that would be pretty cool.
A Jace Jung/Josh Jung tandem would give the Texas Rangers a family element on the field unlike anything they’ve had before
It seems to add up that the Texas Rangers and a Jace Jung marriage could make a lot of sense, but the draft, the college and high school seasons and many other factors could and will change this scenario.
If he’s available, I think the Rangers pull the trigger. If not, maybe an Elijah Green could be in play, too. Let me know what you think. Does it make sense? Who would you like the Texas Rangers to take third overall?
You can find me on Twitter, @PTylerHenderson, or on Instagram, @tylerhenderson2.