With the 2022 MLB Draft less than two months away, the Chicago Cubs, who pick seventh overall this year, are in prime position to make a significant splash with their first-round pick. Glancing over the top 10 prospects available this year, Texas Tech’s star second baseman, Jace Jung, lands at #7 on MLB Pipeline’s rankings, potentially falling to the Cubs in what will be the team’s highest pick in the draft since Kyle Schwarber was selected fourth overall in 2014.
Jung has been a phenom at the collegiate level for his entire three-year tenure with Texas Tech. His lifetime slash line currently sits at .338/.479/.686 with 36 HR and 134 RBI in 417 career at-bats. After a decent freshman year in which he batted .264/.438/.604 with four home runs and 23 driven in during a dramatically shortened 2020 season, Jung began to seriously turn heads in 2021 as he put up an incredible .337/.462/.697 with 21 long balls and 67 RBI, appearing in all 56 games on the season. Not only will he hit for power and average, he managed to draw 49 walks while striking out just 45 times.
This season, Jung has taken it to new heights, though he has just 11 homers this season and 45 driven in currently, his line of .371/.516/.698 through 44 games makes him one of the best bats in college baseball. His strikeout rate has plummeted, and he’s walked 47 times and struck out in just 26 of his 208 plate appearances. His OPS currently sits at a ridiculous 1.215.
Jung has been named an All-American multiple times and was formerly the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2021. He grades out to a 60 overall on a 20-80 grading scale with 60 marks for hitting and power, 40 for running, 45 for arm and 45 for fielding. MLB.com has him listed with the potential of batting .300 and hitting 30 home runs a year routinely, something that the follows suit with the Cubs looking to increase contact as of late but still having enough pop in the line up for a diverse mix.
More importantly, what could ultimately swing the Cubs toward the young second baseman is the news that another potential Cubs draft target, Dylan Lesko, underwent Tommy John surgery which could hurt his draft stock significantly. Lesko was – and may still be – the top arm of the draft this year but may wind up heading to college after his surgery.
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This year the MLB Draft is July 17-19, well after the College World Series wraps up. The Texas Tech Red Raiders are currently ranked ninth in the nation and Jung’s offense has been a key contributor to the team’s success. It will be interesting to see how early in the draft he goes, but if he falls to #7, the Cubs need to pounce.