Detroit Tigers 2022 MLB draft pick Jace Jung: 5 things to know about the Texas Tech 2B

Detroit Free Press

Jung, a second baseman out of Texas Tech, hit .335 with 14 home runs and 18 doubles in 61 games for the Red Raiders in 2022. In the season prior, he had 21 homers with a .337 average in 56 games.

He was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the draft by MLB Pipeline.

Here are five things to know about Detroit’s newest talent:

THE PICK: Tigers select Texas Tech 2B Jace Jung with No. 12 overall pick in 2022 MLB draft

JEFF SEIDEL: How Tigers went from drafting like ‘zombies’ to finding late-round gems

THE PAST DECADE: A decade of Tigers’ MLB drafts haven’t resulted in many stars at big-league level

Baseball bloodlines

Jung’s brother, Josh, also suited up for Texas Tech and was drafted No. 8 overall by the Texas Rangers in 2019. After his brother went to the pros, Jung took his spot as the Red Raiders’ third basemen before shifting to second base in 2021.

Josh entered the 2022 season as the No. 29 prospect in all of baseball, per MLB Pipeline. ESPN highlighted the brothers similar styles of play Sunday after the Tigers selected Jung the Younger.

“I think they’re both really, really physical and both can discern the strike zone,” ESPN’s Chris Burke said on the broadcast. “Just like his brother Josh, (Jace has) been a consistent hitter since he stepped on campus. Maybe he’s not quite as athletic as his brother, but man, the potential is there.”

A native of San Antonio, Jung trained with Josh in Lubbock, Texas, this offseason to prepare for the draft.

His standout amateur career

Jung was a four-year letter winner for MacArthur High in San Antonio, where he played shortstop. He was ranked as the No. 34 prospect and No. 6 shortstop in Texas for the 2019 recruiting cycle by Perfect Game.

In his senior season, he hit .476 with seven home runs en route to collecting first-team All-State first team honors. He also earned all-district second-team honors as a freshman and sophomore, followed by all-state third-team recognition in his junior season.

COVID-19 forced a premature end to his freshman season at Texas Tech in 2020, but Jung still managed a .264 average with 14 hits, four home runs and 23 RBIs in 74 plate appearances. He also got reps at each position in the infield.

In 2021, Jung’s efforts earned him consensus first-team All-American status and the 2021 Big 12 Player of the Year award.

What experts are saying

So far, MLB experts are high on general manager Al Avila’s selection of Jung.

MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo wrote the Tigers have to be happy that Jung was available at No. 12.

“A potential top-five pick coming into the season, he was a little banged up physically at Texas Tech this spring but continued to rake and controlled the strike zone like he always has,” Callis wrote. “There’s some question as to whether Jung can stay at second base, but his bat should profile at a variety of positions.”

Still, while many are labeling this as a draft-night win for Detroit, there are questions surrounding how Jung’s game will translate to the next level.

His off-the-field achievements

Off the field, Jung’s career at Texas Tech was just as successful — a fact he often teased Josh about, including in a June tweet about his academic honors.

“Breaking news…. I’m smarter than @josh6jung imes 2 haha,” Jace tweeted on June 8.

Jung collected three All-Academic honors with the Red Raiders, a feat Josh only achieved twice. Jung was named to the 2021 Academic All-Big 12 First Team in 2021 and to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team and All-America first team.

Outside of the classroom, Jung had an NIL deal with a Lubbock-based auto group and held an autograph signing alongside his Red Raider teammates last August. The players charged $15 for photos and autographs or $10 for just autographs.

His post-game diet

The secret to Jung’s powerful swing might be protein.

In a 2021 interview with the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League, where Jung played last summer, he broke down his usual post-game meal routine.

“After games (on Friday), I usually have Mexican food, and then Saturday, after the game, I usually have steak,” Jung said. “It’s just one of those things. I just have to my spot at the dinner table. You don’t sit at my spot at the dinner table. That’s serious stuff.”

Jung said his favorite Mexican food order is enchiladas and steak fajita tacos, along with a side of rice and beans and a glass of sweet tea. If he’s in a hurry, Jung said he loves to stop at Whataburger “if it’s on the way.”

As Jung makes his way up north to Detroit — hundreds of miles away from the nearest Whataburger — it might be interesting to see how his post-game meals vary from his college career.

Chandler Engelbrecht is a reporting intern at The Detroit Free Press and can be reached at CEngelbrecht@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @ctengelbrecht.

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