Bruce Bochy is looking like a genius for quickly putting his trust behind Josh Jung.
The 25-year-old entered the season with just 26 big league games to his name, but was entrusted with hitting fifth in the lineup right out of camp. He’s responded by grabbing hold of the spot, hitting a solid .283 with an .837 OPS. He has 11 homers on the season with 35 RBIs through 50 games.
It had been expected that Jung would hit further down in the order, at least to start. But watching Jung in spring training was enough of a sample size for Bochy to be convinced he could handle the spot, so he went with it.
“I had no problem putting him in that five-hole,” Bochy said in his weekly appearance on The K&C Masterpiece. “Just watching him in spring training, I just love the way he attacks the ball, he’s got some nice discipline at the plate, he controls the strike zone. Like all of us, he’ll chase once in a while, but overall I think he’s done a really good job of getting a good pitch and driving it.
“The thing I like is he lets it go when he gets his pitch, he’s looking to do damage, but with two strikes he’ll shorten things up a little bit. I love his makeup, I really thought he’d have no problem or feel any pressure hitting in that five-hole. … I think he’d be fine hitting anywhere, but I thought he’d be a really nice five hole hitter because of the damage he can do.”
Jung hitting so well in the middle of the order has played a key role in unlocking Texas’ offense. Bochy has been widely lauded for his ability to get the most out of his players, and Jung is an early example of the impact that’s having with the Rangers.