Get to know Tigers top pick Jace Jung

Detroit Tigers

Infielder Jace Jung comes highly touted as one of the best hitters in his Draft class, and the Tigers just selected him No. 12 overall. But who is Jung? Here’s what you need to know about the newest star out of Texas Tech, rated as MLB Pipeline’s No. 9 Draft prospect.

FAST FACTS
Primary position: 2B
Height/weight: 6-foot-0, 205 lbs.
Bats/throws: Left/right
Birthdate: Oct. 4, 2000 (Age 21 in 2022)
College: Texas Tech
High school: MacArthur HS (San Antonio, TX)
Born: San Antonio, TX

It runs in the family
If Jung’s name rings a bell, this might be why. His older brother, Josh, was drafted 8th overall in the 2019 Draft by the Rangers and is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the club’s No. 3 prospect. Jace has followed in Josh’s footsteps as closely as he could, too – both were standout infielders at MacArthur HS, and after Josh elected to forego his final year of eligibility at Texas Tech in 2019, Jace replaced him in the Red Raiders’ infield.

He’s Texas Tech’s own iron man
To call Jung a mainstay in the Red Raiders lineup would be an understatement. Since making his college debut in the 2020 season opener, he has appeared in every Texas Tech game, starting all but three.

He earned national recognition as a freshman
Along with 2021 first-rounders Jack Leiter, Kumar Rocker and Mat Nelson, and third-rounder Kevin Kopps, Jung was one of the five finalists for the 2021 Dick Howser Trophy, given each year to the national college player of the year. While he didn’t ultimately win — that honor went to Kopps — Jung was named the 2021 Big 12 Player of the Year after leading the conference in OPS (1.279), percentage (.779), walks (45), RBIs (65) and home runs (20), and was the first freshman to lead the Big 12 in home runs in 21 years. Two years earlier, Jung’s brother also won the award, making them the first pair of siblings to receive the honor in Big 12 history.

His plate discipline is (almost) unmatched
Jung is a clear bat-first prospect, but his most impressive quality may be his ability to keep the bat on his shoulder – in 2022, he racked up 59 walks in 61 games, which tied for 5th-most among DI players.

He spent the 2020 shutdown with his family — improving his defense
While his defensive abilities lag behind his hitting prowess, Jung credits brother Josh for many of the improvements he’s made over his collegiate career. After the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to both the 2020 college and Minor League baseball seasons, the brothers spent plenty of time working out together, in which time Josh passed on some of what he’d already learned in his brief professional career, knowledge that Jace has cited for giving him a better feel of the game.

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