Josh Jung, the Texas Rangers 2019 first round draft pick and the team’s top position prospect, will start a rehab assignment tomorrow, July 28, per the beats. Jung, who was the favorite to be the team’s starting third baseman this year, has been out of action since March due to a shoulder injury suffered while lifting weights.
The 24 year old Jung is still considered a consensus top 50 prospect, despite the missed time, and he appears to be a little bit ahead of schedule, as previous reports were that he would not return to action until August. The reports are that Jung will spend a week playing for the ACL squad, then will move to an affiliate after that. One would assume that the affiliate would be Round Rock, where he ended the 2021 season, but Frisco would also be a possibility, depending on how much rust he has.
Jung is expected to be a DH the rest of this season, but the beats on Twitter indicate that playing in the field is a possibility, given how he has progressed in his rehab for the injury. The bigger question, to me, is whether Jung will get time in the major leagues this year. The fielding limitation isn’t a problem, as the Rangers don’t really have a full time DH anyway, and if the team thinks he will be in the 2023 Opening Day lineup, it would make sense to get his feet wet this year.
Whether Jung comes up will likely depend in significant part on how well he performs, as the team has been emphasizing that promotions will be merit based. If he hits like he did last year, though — putting up a 910 OPS in Frisco and a 1088 OPS in Round Rock — that won’t be an issue.
Jung is not currently on the 40 man roster, but will have to be added in November, so there’s no issues from an options or roster management point of view in calling him up this year. There are only two extra roster spots available in September under the new rules — and I expect both to be filled by pitchers — but Nick Solak and Elier Hernandez aren’t going to keep Jung from being added to the extra roster, should he warrant the promotion.