Friday on the Farm: Josh Jung isn't the only third baseman in Texas Rangers' system. Others just aren't third basemen yet.
The additions of Corey Seager and Marcus Semien will force some middle infielders in the minors to become more versatile.
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Everyone who follows the Texas Rangers and Texas Tech baseball knows who the top third baseman is in the Rangers’ system.
It’s Josh Jung, the 2019 first-round pick (eighth overall) and the team’s No. 2 prospect. The only disappointing thing about his 2021 season is that it wasn’t a full season because of a stress fracture in his left foot that needed surgery in March and kept him out until June.
He still managed to hit .326 with 19 homers in 304 at-bats. He hit .348 in 135 at-bats at Triple A Round Rock after his bump from Double A Frisco.
Jung is thought to be so good and such a sure thing that few have bothered to look past him on the minor-league depth chart. But even Babe Ruth and Willie Mays had backups.
Jung will, too. Or maybe it’s a super utility player who gets multiple games a week at third while Jung gets a day off or a game at designated hitter.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa appears to be the internal favorite on the big-league roster to do that, though he could be the Opening Day third baseman while Jung starts 2022 in the minors. Andy Ibanez is another Rangers players who can juggle multiple positions.
The answer to who is No. 2 at third in the minors is much different than it was at the start of the offseason. It’s much different than it was on Thanksgiving Day.
The free-agent additions of shortstop Corey Seager and second baseman Marcus Semien, officially Dec. 1, have thrown roadblocks in front of several middle infielders who are believed to be getting close to their MLB debuts.
Those players will be asked to play different positions, while staying true to their current ones. If they are to reach the majors with the Rangers, they will have to do so as versatile players rather than just playing in one spot.
“When you do what we did, you naturally have some stability in certain positions and if you're a prospect then you want to be proactive about getting to the big leagues,” assistant general manager Ross Fenstermaker said. “You ask, 'What other positions might I be able to play because I want to play in the big leagues?' We're having those discussions with our players as well.”
There is also a corner infielder in the group of potential backups at third base.
They know who they are. For those who don’t, here’s who they are.
(Don’t be surprised if some of these players end up getting traded.)