We have already posted 11 Draft Prospect Watch articles as we lead up to the 2022 draft, which begins on Sunday July 17th, when the Pittsburgh Pirates will make the fourth overall pick in the draft.
With two weeks left until the draft, this will likely be our final Draft Prospect Watch article, unless a new name pops up late. The Pirates have been said to be interested in college bats throughout this whole process, and there is one more college bat to look at before we tentatively wrap up this series.
Texas Tech second baseman Jace Jung was actually connected to the Pirates last year (December I believe) in the way too early mock draft look at the draft class. He has been rated as a top ten player in this draft class the entire time, so a team picking fourth and looking for a college bat, has probably kept an eye on him all year.
BA’s latest update has Jung ranked eighth in the class. They rate him as a 60 hitter with 60 power, so he would be a strong lefty bat to add to the system. The rest of his game is mediocre, but if the bat is that good, then you’ll find a place for him if he can’t play second base. At 6’0″, 215 pounds, he’s a below average runner. BA calls him an old school bat, in that he hits the ball where it’s pitched, using the entire field, with gap-to-gap power. He has also shown an ability to draw his share of walks. In other words, he’s not one of these generic cavemen swinging for the fences that teams are trying to mass produce into two outcome players. He can actually hit and do it with power, which is a rare combo these days. His defense is described as steady and he gets a lot of credit for his baseball IQ. He’s not going to impress you with anything defensively or on the bases, but he also won’t frustrate you either.
MLB Pipeline has the 21-year-old rated ninth overall in the draft class. They rate him as a 60 hitter with 60 power, giving him the same grades as BA. They have him as a 40 grade runner with a 45 arm, which are also the same grades as BA. The only difference is that BA had him as 50 for his glove and Pipeline has him at 45. A 1/2 grade difference over five categories tells you that scouts are on the same page with his overall talent. Pipeline notes his unorthodox setup (see videos below), but they note that he doesn’t have a weakness at the plate, handling all type of pitchers and pitches well. They praise his bat speed and ability to make hard contact, while noting that he could profile as a .300 hitter with 30 homers. They also mentioned the same thing I did, where if he needs to move off of second base, the bat is going to play up anywhere.
Since the two sides seem to be in agreement on his bat and overall game, then let’s look at the videos.
Here’s a video from March 20th from Prospect Live. It’s unedited, so it’s a little long for minimal swings
Here’s a highlight video
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.