Josh Jung Remains On Target For 2021
Third baseman Josh Jung isn't going to miss much of the minor league season after a simple procedure to help stabilize a stress fracture in his left foot.
The typical player needs six to eight weeks to get back on the field. Even if Jung, the Rangers' top prospect, needs eight weeks, he likely would miss about two weeks of games.
The bigger issue, though, is the impact the March 22 surgery could have on his major league debut.
Most expected that the 23-year-old Jung, drafted eighth overall out of Texas Tech in 2019, would join the Rangers in July or early August following the July 31 trade deadline.
That remains possible, Rangers president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said.
"He, along with several other of our players, could have that opportunity this year depending on how they do," Daniels said. "I don’t think we have anything set in stone. We don't have any clear date.
"What we're looking for is for these guys to go out and compete and perform and take the steps that we feel they need to, especially after a season in which they didn't play."
Jung carried his strong performance from last summer at the alternate training site and from instructional league last year into his first big league camp.
His biggest improvement came with increased pull-side power after coming to the Rangers with most of his power to right-center field. That change alone has some in the organization seeing the potential for 25-homer seasons.
It was plain to see, though, that Jung isn't far away from the majors. The foot injury delays his timeline, however, depending how quickly he's able to recapture his early-spring form before being activated for games.
"If there's a silver lining, you've got the delayed start to the minor league season, so he really won't miss a lot of time as far as the regular season," Daniels said. "But he certainly will miss some time in terms of preparing for it."
— Among the prospects who left a favorable impression in spring training was first baseman Curtis Terry. He won't wow anyone with his defense or speed, but the Rangers like his ability to recognize pitches and hit the ball with authority. A righthanded hitter, Terry has become an option for a potential platoon at first base later in the season.
— Cody Freeman spent all spring in big league camp as he converts from middle infielder to catcher. The Rangers drafted him in the fourth round in 2019 out of Etiwanda High in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and late in camp he played second base and third base in Cactus League games.