This profile is the first in a series of offseason draft pieces. All players profiled in the offseason will be revisited closer to the draft with notes on the 2019 season.
Weight: 215 lbs.
Age: 20 yrs., 8 mos.
Class: 4YR Jr.
2018 was a year to remember for Josh Jung. In his sophomore campaign with Texas Tech, the third baseman put together a stat line normally reserved for a 2K Sports title with a .392/.491/.639 triple slash, six homers and 22 total extra base hits. The San Antonio native walked 36 times against 45 strikeouts and hit .415 against left-handed pitching. Splits suggest Jung has a good feel for situational hitting, as he was able to score runners from 3rd with less than two outs in 75% of his opportunities. His efforts earned him Golden Spikes Award finalist status, and he will open the 2019 season as one of the most feared hitters in the Big-12 and college baseball as a whole.
Jung is immediately impressive on film. Baseball athletic and powerfully built, Jung jumps off the screen with his high-end bat speed and natural strength. While not the lightest on his feet, Jung is relatively fluid and shows a strong, and accurate, arm in the field- not surprising, as he has run his fastball up to the low 90s as a pitcher in the past. He doesn’t project as a high-end defender at third, but based on the looks I’ve had I’m inclined to believe he can stay there and provide capable defense that will keep his bat in the lineup, as he shows good hands and workable footwork buoyed by the aforementioned arm.
At the plate is where Jung really shines. The young infielder has a lightning-quick bat and simple stroke, which he uses to drive balls to the gaps. Thus far, Jung hasn’t shown a ton of home run power, and his style at the plate might make him more of a plus contact/average power bat, but there is raw power in his frame that may yet be untapped. This will likely be the part of Jung’s profile on which evaluators are divided most- but personally I’m not sure Jung needs to hit for a ton of power to be valuable. Jung has a strong approach- patient, but not passive- and there is some projection still remaining in his 6’2” frame. I tend to be very high on hitters who couple plus bat speed with feel, and Jung checks both boxes emphatically.
Though he won’t provide much value with his glove or legs, Jung nonetheless has the look of a first-round pick at this point thanks to his feel for hitting. Having demolished Big-12 pitching for two years straight, including a 2017 campaign that earned him Top Big-12 Freshman honors, Jung’s bat can’t have many doubters remaining. The cornerstone of a solid Texas Tech club, Jung will have plenty of eyes on him in the spring and could be a Golden Spikes threat if he can maintain his torrid 2018 pace. Personally, I am high on his ability to do so.
Projected Draft Round
Jung is currently rated in the 20s or 30s overall by most outlets. He projects as a late first-round pick currently and could push himself into the top half of the first if he shows a bit more home run pop.
MLB Player Comparison
As a third baseman who stands out for his contact ability, there are a lot of similarities between Jung and former UNC Standout and top-10 pick Colin Moran. There are some parallels with Matt Carpenter at 3B as well.
Does he fit with the Astros?
The run on powerful corner bats might end for the Astros at some point, but Luhnow has shown a proclivity for drafting for players like Jung early in recent history and he represents one of the most explosive bats in the college class.