After going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts in a game for High-A West Michigan, Jace Jung knew something was wrong.
“That was the first time I’ve ever done that,” said Jung, a 23-year-old second baseman. “I don’t think many people realized it, but I kind of went through a timing issue with my front foot.”
He immediately reached out to his father, Tigers hitting instructor Jeff Branson and older brother Josh Jung, an all-star third baseman for the Rangers.
Diagnosing the timing issue was easy for Jace Jung to target once he was able to dive in.
“(Pitchers are) starting to throw you other things,” Jung said, “and you’re like, ‘Oh, I need to look for this,’ instead of just sticking to your plan.”
Jung had many conversations with his family and put in extensive work with Branson. The resolution came via the addition of a leg kick, just like Josh used in his 23-homer rookie season in 2023.
“It was kind of nice, because (Josh) is going through it at the big league level,” Jung said. “I was able to pick his brain about it . . . and he was able to help me out during last year.”
The Tigers promoted Jung to Double-A Erie on July 25. He belted 14 home runs in 47 games in the Eastern League. At the two levels he hit 28 bombs while batting .265/.376/.502 in 128 games.
“I’m definitely more on time now,” Jung said. “The big thing with the leg kick now is staying balanced and staying under control, because sometimes you have a habit to get out on the front side.
“I think with the leg kick, it allows you to stay more balanced on your backside, and really allow you to get into that backside when you’re making contact with the baseball.”
Jung, whom the Tigers drafted 12th overall out of Texas Tech in 2022, savors the grind of pro ball.
“Baseball is a game of failure, and I love it,” Jung said. “That’s why we all play it and we’re trying to perfect our craft as best as we can.”