Jace Jung knocks louder on Tigers' door with 2-HR game

June 12th, 2024

is swinging like he’s trying to hit every pitch all the way to Detroit. That’s just where he might find himself sooner rather than later.

MLB Pipeline's No. 46 overall prospect keeps knocking on the door from Triple-A Toledo. The latest example came Tuesday when Jung posted his first multihomer game of the season en route to the Mud Hens' 10-3 win over Omaha at Fifth Third Field.

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Jung cranked a solo homer off right-hander Chandler Champlain (KC No. 11) in the second inning and added a two-run shot off righty Anthony Simonelli in the sixth, his 10th and 11th of the season. He also walked twice.

“The vibes are good,” Jung said. “This is probably one of the most fun teams I’ve played on in the Minors.”

The outing was emblematic of the type of impact Jung has had all year at Triple-A, and really since arriving in the Tigers system two summers ago. The club’s first-round pick (No. 12 overall) in 2022 after a decorated career at Texas Tech, Jung smashed 28 homers across two levels in 2023, his first full professional season.

This year, he’s hitting a robust .285/.399/.536 with 29 extra-base hits through 57 games at Toledo, where he’s had the benefit of hitting behind Spencer Torkelson for the past few weeks. And he’s long reaped the benefits of having the support of his older brother, Rangers All-Star third baseman Josh Jung, whom Jace credits with helping him adjust to Triple-A pitching.

“My brother and I talk all the time,” Jace Jung said. “We were on two-hour phone calls going over video and everything we have about hitting and all my cues and getting all that stuff right. We’ve been doing that for a while. It’s nice to have somebody who might not be on your team, but family runs deep."

The elder Jung is a right-handed, power-hitting third baseman. The younger Jung is a left-handed, power-hitting ... now primarily third baseman.

“Our mindset when we get into the batter's box is the same,” Jace Jung said. “We might have different cues and our bodies are telling us different things we need to do. But overall, the mentality when we get in the box is the same, and I think that’s what helps us get along so well.”

The Tigers never had much concern over Jung’s bat, and indeed, he’s developed into one of the top power-hitting second base prospects in all of baseball. But they did want him to get acclimated to playing third, sending him to the Arizona Fall League specifically for that last year. In 2024, he’s played more than twice as many games at third (38) than second (16), his natural position.

That flexibility should help Jung in both the long and short term, both in the big leagues and in getting to the big leagues. His growing comfort at both positions makes it easy to imagine the Tigers summoning Jung if an injury arises at either base.

That means he could be playing against his older brother very soon.

“I hope so,” Jung said.