Breaking Down the Replacements for Rangers Rookie Josh Jung

The Texas Rangers suffered another setback Sunday, as rookie Josh Jung suffered a thumb fracture. So what's next for the team?
Miami Marlins v Texas Rangers
Miami Marlins v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 2
Next

1. Ezequiel Duran

One of the prime candidates to replace Jung is Ezequiel Duran. During Seager's most recent absence, he was the player called upon to take over at short. He started in eight games and made his presence known on both sides of the field. Duran had six hits, five runs, and one RBI during Seager's absence.

On the field, he has also stepped up his game. In 89 games this season, Duran has fielded 82 putouts, 100 assists, 16 double plays, and five errors.

This season he has been a valuable utility player that has played all over the infield and outfield. Duran has logged time in left field and right field, first, second, and third base. Last month, he had his first professional start at first base, as the team opted to give Nathaniel Lowe rest. In the game, he did well finishing with zero errors, and he caught a couple of crucial pop-outs.

In July, I wrote about him having an impact off the bench. He has provided valuable time to a team that can't seem to get away from injuries. Maybe it's a good thing Texas kept him at the trade deadline.

2. Josh Smith

Another player who can play third base is Josh Smith. Remember, Smith was the person to take over for Jung Sunday when he got hurt. His time should increase as Seager will require some rest when his thumb injury flares up as it did on Sunday.

Smith is batting .214 with 27 hits, 24 runs, five doubles, and four home runs. However, his numbers lately have been on a decline. On Sunday, he was 0-4.

Fielding-wise, he has done a good job. In 105 opportunities, Smith has brought in 40 putouts, 60 assists, and 17 double plays. He has posted five errors this season.

Like Duran, Smith is a valuable utility player who has played multiple positions. In April, he spent most of his time in the infield. During that time, he made his presence known on the field. He did what was asked and made the most of his time by playing good defense.

With Seager not being able to play every day, his time in the lineup will increase. Whether that is in the outfield or infield, Smith is always ready.


3. Other Possible Alternatives

Right now, it is safe to say that Duran and Smith are the two ideal candidates to replace Jung. They both have the experience and track record to show for it. However, one last resort for Texas could be calling up players from the minor leagues.

Recently, Texas called up infielder Jonathan Ornelas. He is the team's 14th-best prospect. The 23-year-old has shown progress while playing for Round Rock. His numbers include hitting 54 runs, 14 doubles, and 39 RBIs. He has a minor-league career .273 batting average. As for fielding, he has 122 putouts this season to go with eight errors, all at shortstop.

Some strengths include his ability to play both infield and outfield. Ornelas mostly plays shortstop but has 49 games of outfield experience in his minor-league career.

Another minor leaguer who could be called up is Bubba Thompson. The 2017 1st round draft pick has a couple of Major League seasons under his belt. He made his major debut last August, as he played out the final months of the season. One thing to note is he is one of the fastest outfielders in the Rangers minor league system. Thompson would give the Rangers an extra outfielder since Duran is primarily playing in the infield.

Ornelas could play a valuable role in Jung's absence. He already scored the game-winning run in his debut on Monday night. Texas can only hope Jung has a safe and quick recovery and can come back before the end of the season.