The Texas Rangers have floored the gas pedal in terms of the investment of their rebuild. It is not often that teams that lose 100+ games in a season immediately go out and spend $500 million in free agency – and counting. We got through the season knowing that brighter days were ahead, and I think we all knew the team would do SOMETHING in free agency. Boy, did they.
We’re still in lockout mode, however, and just trying to find the bright spots in moving forward from a dismal 2021 season.
Losing stinks in just about every capacity imaginable, but if you do it a lot, at least you are in the position to receive a solid draft pick slot as a result. The Rangers’ 102-loss campaign last year secured them the third overall pick in this year’s draft, which is chock full of guys who could be impact players for the future of the franchise.
After selecting Jack Leiter second overall in last year’s draft, the Rangers can now churn out two top-three selections hopefully by the 2024 MLB season, as both guys will likely be pivotal pieces in getting this franchise back into championship contention.
Today, we’re going to take a look at five players who the Texas Rangers might be interested in selecting with that third pick. Keep in mind two things as you read this article: firstly, prospect rankings move around – quite a lot, actually, so this list could look totally different in June, and secondly, there are way more than five players to choose from!
This draft is full of talented players that could be integral parts of the Rangers’ rebuild, but today I’m going to introduce you to five of them who might fit the immediate needs come draft day. These are not in any order based on talent or personal preference. All this is is a list of five players who might be fun Texas Rangers at some point, and at least three of the names I mention will be available for the team to draft this summer!
5 candidates for the Texas Rangers’ first round selection in 2022
#5: Jace Jung, 2B, Texas Tech University (TX)
The younger brother of minor-league Rangers darling Josh Jung (who is primed for his own much-anticipated debut in 2022), Jace Jung is just as capable of bringing the Texas Rangers a formidable bat within their infield. Although the Rangers have recently invested hundreds of millions of dollars in their middle infield for the future, there are plenty of reasons to consider Jung as a top-three worthy pick in June. Even ignoring the connection and mentorship he would have with Josh, he is an in-state talent, he comes from a program that has produced a plethora of Major League draft picks,
PROS: Power hitting, plate discipline, strength
Whatever the Jung family is feeding their children… well, it’s working. Josh and Jace have both produced elite-level bats during their short semi-professional careers, and the latter shows no signs of straying from the former’s footsteps. Jace led the Red Raiders in walks and finished second in home runs and third in runs batted in during the team’s shortened 2020 season, earning many honors – including Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and Collegiate Baseball Newcomer Freshman All-American.
His unorthodox batting stance only seems to give him more juice at the plate, where he excels at putting drive into the ball and utilizing all areas of the field. Jung became a markedly better hitter in his sophomore season, turning good numbers into great ones. He raised his season batting average from .264 to .337, season OBP from .438 to .462, and well more than tripled his hitting and run production totals, finishing his 2021 campaign with 70 hits and 49 walks in 208 at-bats (with only 45 strikeouts), as well as 21 home runs and 67 runs batted in.
The reigning Big 12 player of the year, much like his brother, has received plenty of praise for his hitting abilities, but he has drawn some criticism for having an unreliable arm. Although Jace initially entered the program as a third baseman, Texas Tech slotted him into second base during the 2021 season, where he saw improvement. He has also publicly acknowledged that his fielding is the area he wants to improve in the most, and both brothers are noted for their mental tenacity and work ethic. He’s not a bad fielder by any stretch, but it’s definitely the area where he can realistically improve the most before he makes his big-league debut.