Josh Jung is here ... now what?

September 11th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Kennedi Landry's Rangers Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

ARLINGTON -- At long last, the Rangers' top prospect, , made it to Arlington on Friday night, kicking off his MLB career with a bang and a home run. It came after more than a year of anticipation as various injuries delayed his debut. It has finally happened. But now what?

Jung finished the game 2-for-4 with the home run, a single and a stolen base, capping his night as one of Texas’ most anticipated debuts in recent history.

“Today's normal,” interim manager Tony Beasley said on Saturday. “It's a brand new day. Yesterday, he had a good debut. He got things out of the way, so he doesn't have to worry about trying to get his first hit or anything. None of that stuff. He's already taken care of that. So just play ball today.

"I don't want to put any pressure on him, or make him feel like he has to do something special to carry the team or what have you. Just be Josh Jung and do Josh Jung things. And if he does that, then he’ll contribute. So I just want him to relax, have fun and play hard.”

“Josh Jung things” can include both mental and physical attributes for MLB’s No. 39 overall prospect. Beasley reiterates that Jung is capable of doing special things throughout a hopefully long MLB career. But he also doesn’t want to force any stat line or accolade on the 24-year-old before he has a chance to face the challenges set out in front of him.

General manager Chris Young added that all Jung needs to do through the final three weeks of the season is be himself. It may be easier said than done, but knowing his game personally will carry Jung a long way.

“He knows the player he is,” Young said. “The game is going to be a little faster. It's going to be a little more challenging, and he's going to face things that he's never seen. He's playing against the best players. There are going to be more fans. Everything's bigger, faster. It'll be a new environment for him; he just needs to be himself, play his game.

“All young players hit rough patches, and we should expect that. We believe in Josh, the person, to get through those rough patches. I think the talent is tremendous, and there will be an adjustment period at some point. It may not be in the first week or the first month and maybe it'll be next year, who knows. But there will be a period where there's adjustments, it's constantly adjusting.”

And for what it’s worth, that task doesn’t look too large for Jung. He’s not one to struggle with adjustments or confidence, or even expectations of success.

The struggles and slumps will come. But Jung and the Rangers have put him in a position to succeed at this level, hopefully for a long time to come.

“I’m not setting expectations for myself too high,” Jung said. “And I think the biggest trap for athletes in general is thinking that everybody has these super-high expectations and trying to meet every single person’s expectations. For me, it's just kind of setting some goals for myself, and then just trying to accomplish one at a time and just take it one step at a time. Because there's going to be some rocky points for sure.”

“It’s just crazy, honestly. It’s a good start. Just gotta keep going,” he added after Friday’s game.