Jung vs. Lynn pits top prospect vs. savvy vet

March 9th, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Right-hander against the Rangers' top pick in the 2019 Draft, Josh Jung.

The clash of youth vs. the titan made for unusually dramatic theater in what was otherwise a routine simulated game on the back field on Monday morning. First came the memorable blast to center, followed by the veteran exacting revenge.

Jung, the Rangers' top prospect and No. 55 in all of baseball according to MLB Pipeline, was among the Minor Leaguers brought over so Lynn could throw five innings and 80 pitches on the Nolan Ryan Field. Lynn was doing his work there so Jonathan Hernandez could start the Cactus League game.

Jung faced Lynn in the second inning, and after he took two close pitches for balls, the 22-year-old drove a fastball over the center-field wall and the batter’s eye behind it.

“That ball was hammered,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.

“I thought I had a line drive, so I was sprinting out of the box,” Jung said. “It felt pretty good off the bat.”

Lynn wasn’t too happy about it. He knew what he wanted to do the next time he faced Jung.

“Strike him out on three straight pitches,” Lynn said. “Show him the good stuff.”

“He was mad,” catcher Robinson Chirinos said of Lynn. “I don’t care when you are throwing, even if it’s 9 o’clock in the morning. Anytime you give up a home run, you are not going to be happy.”

Especially against a first-round Draft pick. Jung was the eighth overall pick out of Texas Tech last summer and is in his first Spring Training. Lynn has played in eight big league seasons and has made 223 starts.

“I didn’t know who he was when he was in the box the first time,” Lynn said. “I was like, 'All right, good swing.'”

Lynn said he wasn’t especially amped up the next time Jung came to bat.

“No. I just knew he wasn’t going to get a hit,” Lynn said.

Jung didn’t. Lynn struck him out on three fastballs right down the middle.

“It was like, 'Good morning, good afternoon, go take the bench kid,'” Jung said.

Lynn said he didn’t know it was Jung when he faced him the first time.

“A 2-0 fastball right down the middle,” Lynn said. “He did what a first-round pick supposed do with it. The next time I knew who he was, and it didn’t go well for him.”