This has been a banner year for Josh Jung.
He reached the College World Series with Texas Tech in June. He was the Texas Rangers’ first-round selection later that month. And he followed in one of his best friend’s footsteps by winning the Bobby Bragan Collegiate Slugger Award presented by SR Bats.
Jung, a third baseman, was formally honored on Tuesday night at The Fort Worth Club.
“It’s pretty special,” Jung said. “One of my best friends in the whole world won it a couple years ago, Hunter Hargrove. To follow in his footsteps is pretty cool. I think it speaks a lot to all the guys who win this award — they take baseball seriously and academics as well.”
Other finalists included Jung’s teammate at Texas Tech, Cameron Warren, New Mexico State’s Nick Gonzales and Tulane’s Kody Hoese.
The award, created by the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation, is open to all Division I baseball players in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma.
Hargrove won the inaugural award in 2017 followed by Dallas Baptist’s Devlin Granberg in 2018.
Jung takes pride in being the second winner from Texas Tech, which has turned into a baseball powerhouse under Tim Tadlock. The Red Raiders have reached the College World Series in four of his seven seasons, including three of the last four.
“It’s pretty special to get an offer from there,” Jung said. “Coach Tadlock has done an amazing job with a team. We go out there as a team and family and compete.
“That program is going to win a national title here pretty soon. I have a good feeling. To be a part of that program and tradition is pretty cool.”
Jung closed his college career with a stellar junior season, batting .343 with 15 home runs, 23 doubles and 58 RBIs in 64 starts to help the Red Raiders reach the College World Series.
He said the transition from metal bats in college to wood bats in the pros “kicked my butt a little bit.” But Jung is confident he has the talent and mindset to succeed in the pros, just like Rangers brass.
“The pitching is pretty good,” Jung said. “The pitching is going to get better as you go, but I didn’t feel overmatched or anything. I had a lot of fun competing against those guys.”
Jung had a lot of fun on Tuesday, too, becoming a part of a tradition-rich baseball legacy in Fort Worth. More important, it was about his accomplishments and character off the field as much as his playing performance.
“I think that’s one of your duties as being a Christ follower is being consistent as possible day in and day out,” Jung said. “That’s what embodies it is having good character.
“And being a good leader for a team, you have to have consistent actions day in and day out. Failure or success, you’ve got to be the same person every day.”