Tigers’ Jace Jung Makes Early Impression With Teammates

When second baseman Jace Jung began his assignment with High-A West Michigan, there were a number of things beyond his athletic résumé that stuck out to manager Brayan Peña.

Drafted 12th overall out of Texas Tech last year, Jung was presented as an offensive presence. In the eyes of Peña, there was a great deal more that he would bring to the table.

When Jung arrived in West Michigan in August, his immediate desire to plug into the Whitecaps’ culture quickly caught Peña’s attention.

“Something that impressed me the most was that right away he got close to the Latino players,” Peña said. “He wanted to learn about culture. He wanted to learn about their food. He wanted to learn about their country and stuff like that.

“Even at times, I saw (Jung) speaking a little in Spanish,” Peña continued. “His interaction with the Latino players, it was awesome. For him to come in, be one of us, be one of them and be there for his teammates was awesome.

“Being such a humble, coachable young man, it says a lot about his character. It says a lot about his leadership.”

Offensively, Jung didn’t fully tap into his power at the plate right away, going 18 games before hitting his first home run.

Over his 30 games with West Michigan, Jung slashed .231/.373/.333 with seven extra-base hits. For Peña, it was a reminder that each player needs the time to develop at their own pace rather than a cause for concern.

“Everybody knows that his power is there,” Peña said. “We saw that his timing was getting better each and every day. We saw that he was getting better contact out on the front, making better decisions in the strike zone, walking and getting on base. That is something that we really learned how to appreciate from him.

“It says a lot about his barrel control, his rhythm, his timing and his presence at home plate,” Peña added. “He didn’t get too anxious. He didn’t get too excited. He sticks with his game plan.” 

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