Jace Jung could bring an excellent approach and power to the KC Royals.
Last but not least is Texas Tech infielder Jace Jung, whose brother Josh was drafted eighth overall by Texas in 2019. Jace initially took Josh’s place in the Red Raider lineup and has dominated NCAA pitchers ever since.
Jung played all over the infield in 2021 but settled into second base this year and profiles as a second baseman of the future for whoever drafts him Sunday.
Jung’s mlb.com draft profile says “Most of Jung’s value will come from his bat., which is fine because he may hit .300 with 30 homers on an annual basis…He has fringy arm strength, was erratic at third base, and may not be more than adequate at second base.” Defense is clearly not what’s driving him up draft boards, so the major draw for the Royals is his bat and plate approach:
- 2020: 19G, 74 PA, .264/.438/.604, 20.2 K%, 24.3 BB%, 4 HR
- 2021: 56G, 264 PA, .337/.462/.697, 17.0 K%, 18.5 BB%, 21 HR
- 2022: 61G, 295 PA, .335/.481/.612, 14.2 K%, 20.0 BB%, 14 HR
Jung’s strikeout rate has decreased in each of his NCAA seasons and he’s walked more than he’s fanned. Those rates and his elite power output make for a rare combination.
Jung’s upright approach at the plate, although different, seems to help him see the ball well; he uses a slight leg kick and then explodes through the ball with outstanding bat speed that should help him hit for plus power in the majors.
Jung could be ready for Kansas City by 2024 and could slot in well with the Royals’ young core. Much like MJ Melendez, he pairs excellent plate discipline with prodigious power potential.
The Royals have two picks on the first day of the major league draft. Any of these four players could help boost them into contention.