2024 Spring Training preview - third base
With Jung heading into his second full season at third base for the Rangers, Bruce Bochy and company have to be excited about having that position locked down. While third base was Jung's from the beginning last season, there were still several question marks going into the 2023 campaign. However, this year the only real questions are if Jung can stay healthy and how good he can really be.
Plate discipline is an area that Jung needs to improve upon this year. Many of his strikeouts came when he would chase fastballs up or more often than not, off speed pitches that were down and away. Ironically, those two outcomes that led to many strikeouts were a direct result of Jung not wanting to strikeout. Nobody expects Jung to be able to have the same plate discipline as youngster Evan Carter, but if he can improve in this area, it will make him even more of an offensive force within the Rangers stacked lineup.
The Rangers defense was phenomenal last season, and I would expect more of the same this year. Jung proved that he is not only good at the plate but can handle the defensive side of things as well. Playing third base can be a real challenge, as there are rockets hit at you, dribblers that have to be charged, diving plays that have to made, and extremely long throws across the diamond. Jung will continue to do all of those things with ease as he matures into a great third baseman.
At this point, the two backups are again Smith and Duran. This could change if there is a trade between now and the beginning of the season, but for now those are our guys. Just like Jung, they are young and will continue to mature and build themselves into quality big leaguers. Smith is the superior defender, while Duran is better with the bat although he can be a bit of a streaky hitter.
All in all the Rangers are in excellent shape at third base. With Jung leading the way, the Rangers are set to give the fans another entertaining summer of baseball.