If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. And if this past week is any indication, there isn’t even a blemish on the approach of Jace Jung.
Jung was named Minor League Player of the Week in the Midwest League after posting a ridiculous .565/.621/.957 slash line while going 13-for-23 for High-A West Michigan. MLB’s No. 70 overall prospect mashed two home runs, three doubles, notched 10 RBIs and scored four runs — recording multiple knocks in five straight games.
“I transitioned my freshman year [of college] into a little unorthodox approach,” Jung told MLB Tonight’s Matt Vasgersian. “Ray Hayward, who was our pitching coach at Texas Tech — which is crazy to say that he was our pitching coach — helped me transform my hit ability. And I went from him, to my dad, and then that COVID year really helped me a lot with my brother, my dad and then I also had Ray Hayward helping me as well.”
Jung’s older brother is Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung, who is putting up his own impressive offensive numbers for a Rangers club leading the Majors with a plus-153 run differential. The siblings keep in touch regularly to discuss baseball, life and, of course, video games. But one thing that is never in question is the top Tigers prospect’s unorthodox approach. Something even the Tigers organization seems content leaving alone as well.
“[The Tigers] haven’t [tried to change my approach], they just really try to create timing,” the 22-year-old Jung told Vasgersian. “That’s the big thing in our organization — get good rhythm and good timing when you’re up at the plate. They know that when they drafted me in the spot they did, that it had nothing to do with swing and just going out there and playing every day and trying to compete, pitch to pitch, and dominate in the zone.”
Taken No. 12 overall in the 2022 Draft out of Texas Tech by the Tigers, Jung opened his pro career by appearing in 30 games with the Whitecaps. The 2021 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year may have fatigued during that stint, but still finished the year with 25 hits — including his first career homer, a triple, six doubles, 13 RBIs, 16 runs scored and 25 walks.
Jung’s advanced knowledge of the strike zone helps drive his plate discipline and healthy walk rates — as shown by his .391 OBP at High-A this season — and he has the strength and bat speed to display near-plus power to all fields, as he did throughout his college career.
The San Antonio native is sporting a .274/.391/.464 slash line with seven dingers, a triple, nine doubles, 30 walks, 27 RBIs and 23 runs scored over 44 games with West Michigan this season.