Saturday, July 20, 2024

Josh Jung injury: Rangers third baseman lands on IL with broken wrist, Texas calls up former top draft pick

Texas Rangers third baseman Josh Jung was placed on the 10-day IL Tuesday, a day after he suffered a fractured wrist from being struck by a pitch that he swung at during the late stages of Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rangers have not yet announced a timetable for Jung. Here is the hit by pitch:

Jung, 26, had been off to a hot start. In his first three games, he had hit .308/.400/.769 (226 OPS+) with a home run, a double, and a triple to go with two runs batted in. He added to those marks prior to his departure on Monday night, recording three hits, including his second home run of the year, as well as four more RBI.

According to Baseball Prospectus’ database, broken wrists have cost players more than 50 days on average. That doesn’t mean Jung will miss that amount of time — every injury is unique — but it does suggest that the Rangers could be without their starting third baseman for close to two months.

The Rangers have called up top infield prospect Justin Foscue to fill Jung’s roster spot once he is placed on the injured list. The 25-year-old was the No. 14 pick in the 2020 draft and is a .275/.379/.496 career hitter in the minors. In January, our R.J. Anderson named Foscue a change of scenery candidate because Texas has a stacked infield:

Foscue spent last season in Triple-A, where he hit .266/.394/.468 with more walks than strikeouts. He has a patient approach and he connected on more than 90% of his in-zone swings. The pull-happy Foscue launched 18 home runs, too, but his ball-tracking data isn’t as impressive when it comes to feats of strength. His average exit velocity was 89.2 mph and he cleared the 110 mph mark just once…and that’s if you’re generous and round up.

Foscue has a history of playing second and third base, but he’s not much of a defender. Whomever he ends up with will have to pick between living with suboptimal defense at a skill position or lackluster power at a non-skill position. Even so, his contact and on-base chops are appreciable and they should give him a big-league life sooner than later.

It stands to reason the Rangers did not call up Foscue to sit him on the bench. He should get plenty of run at third base while Jung is sidelined, with Josh Smith and Ezequiel Duran also on the MLB roster and capable of playing the hot corner.

Jung is, unfortunately, no stranger to significant injuries. He missed more than 40 days last season after suffering a fractured thumb in August. He’s also been sidelined before by a stress fracture in his foot and a torn labrum in his shoulder that required surgery and a lengthy recovery period.

Jung is the latest in a string of notable Rangers injuries. Texas is also without starting first baseman Nathaniel Lowe and right-handed starters Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer, and Tyler Mahle.

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