Inside The Rangers Prospect Watch: No. 1 Josh Jung

Kade Kistner

Inside The Rangers Prospect Watch Logo

1. Josh Jung | 3B

Born: February 12th, 1998
Bats: R Throws: R
Height: 6'2" Weight: 215
Drafted: 2019, 1st round. Douglas MacArthur HS (San Antonio, Texas).
Team: Hickory Crawdads (A)
Other Team Rankings: Baseball America (1), MLB Pipeline (1)

Career Statistics

Player Bio

Josh Jung played baseball at Douglas MacArthur High School in San Antonio, Texas. The third baseman went undrafted in 2016, and subsequently enrolled in Texas Tech. As a freshman, Jung hit .306 and started every single game of the season for Texas Tech, earning him the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, 

A three-time All-American in college, Jung quickly became known as one of the top hitting prospects in the NCAA during his tenure with the Red Raiders. Jung was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the first-round of the 2019 MLB Draft, and quickly made his way through the Arizona League and eventually ended the year with Class A Hickory Crawdads.  

Strengths

Josh Jung is an accomplished hitter with an advanced and mature approach at the plate. While Jung has never been known to hit a plethora of home runs, he does well to drive balls into the gaps and has the ability to hit to each side of the field with noted consistency.

Jung impressed early in his first professional career assignment when he hit .588 over four games in the Arizona League. Jung was promptly promoted to Hickory, where he still held his own by achieving a .287 average over 40 games, highlighting his hit tool.

Furthermore, unlike a lot of the top-hitting prospects in the Texas Rangers system, Jung tended to walk more than he struck out in college. However, that part of his game has not quite come to fruition at the professional level. Jung is an elite third base prospect, and his power is a tool the Texas Rangers believe they can unlock prior to him reaching the major league level.

Finally, another strength for Jung is his arm. Jung can make accurate and powerful throws, which slots him in well to play third base. 

Weaknesses

We mentioned previously that the power has not quite been there for Jung. As a third baseman, power, while not a necessity to be successful, is what can separate the average from the elite at the Major League level. One of the reasons the Texas Rangers took Jung with the eighth overall pick was the belief that they could unlock that power.  

Another potential weakness for out #1 prospect is his defense. Scouts have graded his fielding as one of his weaker areas, despite still being viewed as "average" for a third baseman. That will need to be improved upon during his development in the Minors. However, his average defense, coupled with his plus-arm will allow him to find some success at all levels in the minors, but the major league level could be a different story without marked improvement. 

His lowest graded skill is his running. Jung does not hit for power, so a plus run-tool would go a long way in helping stretch out hits for extra base hits. Again, as with his defense and power issues, the Rangers believe they can fix these weaknesses before he ever reaches the majors.

Future

It is a coin flip where Jung will start the season. Considering he only played in 40 games for Hickory, he could very well start his season there. It's also a possibility he may make the immediate jump to Down East. In any case, if he can rectify some of his weakness, and his bat continues to impress, then he could potentially make his way up to Double-A Frisco as early as the end of 2020. 

Inside The Rangers Top 10 Preseason Prospect Rankings

1. 3B Josh Jung
2. C Sam Huff
3. RHP Hans Crouse
4. 2B Nick Solak
5. CF Leody Taveras
6. RHP Cole Winn
7. LHP Joe Palumbo
8. RF Bayron Lora
9. SS Maximo Acosta
10. 3B Sherten Apostel

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