Detroit Tigers Draft Primer: INF Jace Jung


The 2022 MLB Draft is this Sunday and the Detroit Tigers have the 12th pick. We look at the potential targets Detroit may select. Today, we start with Jace Jung.

For the first time since 2017, the Detroit Tigers have a first-round draft pick outside of the top 5. Last season, Detroit selected high school pitcher Jackson Jobe. Despite the good crop of shortstop talent in the 2021 draft, the Tigers selected Jobe on his upside, athleticism and the ability to produce high spin rates on his slider. The Tigers would end up drafting shortstop Izaac Pacheco in the second round. He is 9th on the newest Baseball America Top 30 Tigers prospects list.

Detroit is no stranger going against what everyone else is doing. A prime example of this was in the 2017 draft when they selected Rey Rivera in the second round. He was ranked the #191 prospect according to Baseball America and went 57th overall. He is no longer in the organization. In fact, James McCann is the last second round positional pick (2011) that has been up in the majors and saw time in Detroit. For spending, Detroit has a total bonus pool of $8,024,900 and their pick slot value is $4,587,900.

This year’s draft class is loaded with a lot of high upside high school players and polished college hitters. The top crop of college pitchers for the draft has dealt with injuries. Names like Landon Sims, Connor Prielipp, Peyton Pallette and Blade Tidwell went down early in the season, so that has changed how the first-round may play out. Tigers GM Al Avila recently on Bally Sports Detroit talk about picking “the best player available” (4:14 mark) hitter or pitcher, so several players fit this bill at the 12th pick. What makes the MLB draft so different from the others is that teams tend not to draft for need. Detroit could use everything, so let’s take a deeper dive on this left-handed hitting second basemen.

Who is Jace Jung?

Jace Jung is from San Antonio, Texas, and his brother Josh, was the 8th pick overall pick by the Texas Rangers in 2019. He made his presence known quickly as a freshman, with more walks than strikeouts in the shortened 2020 season while taking over at 3rd, a position that his brother had held at Texas Tech. In 2021, he was named the Big 12 Player of the Year after hitting .337 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI. His college career numbers are good: .328/.468 /.647, 39 home runs, 32 doubles with a 19.9 BB% to 16.1 K%. According to Cody Stavenhagen of the Athletic, Jung is one of the college hitters the Tigers like among a few others. ($)

Jace’s biggest upside is his power and hit tool. According to his scouting grades, he rates as a 60 in both categories. If you were curious about how the MLB scouting scale works, here’s a mini breakdown.

30: Poor

40: Below-average

45-Fringe average

50: Major League average

55: Above Average

60: Plus

70: Plus-Plus

80: Top of the scale

Jace’s batting stance is upright and if you notice where the placement of his top hand on the bat, he grips it differently than you may be used to seeing. The follow through on the swing allows him to barrel up on the ball well.

His defense is where there are some liability issues based on fringy arm strength. When he took over at third at Texas Tech, he was erratic, so for the past two seasons, he has been playing second base.

Jung can hit, has a good eye on the plate and has power upside. Detroit’s farm system could use more power among their infield crop. Even with his defensive issues, you can find a place for him in the lineup. If he falls to Detroit at 12, they should pick him up without no hesitation.