Eric Jagielo and the fast track

2013 Draft: Yankees sign fourth rounder Tyler Wade
Draft Signing Updates: Judge, Clarkin, Coleman

It’s been a long, long time since the Yankees drafted a college bat like Eric Jagielo. The Notre Dame third baseman is the first college position player they’ve selected in the first round since taking Florida State outfielder John Ford-Griffin — he was considered more of a second round talent because of injury concerns and a lack of power — with the 23rd overall pick in 2001. You have to go all the way back to Thurman Munson in 1968 for the last time the Yankees landed a slam dunk first round college bat.

Baseball America and Keith Law (subs. req’d) ranked Jagielo as the 16th and 26th best prospect in the draft in their final rankings, putting him firmly in the back-half of the first round mix. To get an idea of the skillset it takes to be considered a back-half of the first round college bat, here’s a snippet of Baseball America‘s pre-draft scouting report (subs. req’d):

He combines the ability to hit for power and average like few players available … He has shown more discipline, made more contact and done a better job of using the whole field. He now projects to hit for a solid average with at least plus power. While he’s a below-average runner and his agility and reactions still need improvement, scouts believe Jagielo will be able to stick at the hot corner. His actions, hands and arm all are fine for the position. He played all four corner positions for the Fighting Irish, not becoming a full-time third baseman until mid-2012.

Now here’s a piece of what Keith Law (subs. req’d) had to say:

Jagielo is one of the more polished college bats in the class, valuable even though he doesn’t have the explosive tools of Hunter Renfroe or huge raw power of Kris Bryant … In the field, he’s an adequate defender at third with arm strength, agile enough to stay at the position even though he’s going to be among the bigger third basemen in pro ball. I could see him as a 20-homer guy with mid-.300s OBPs who plays solid-average defense in a few years, which would make him an everyday guy who could make an All-Star Game or two.

By all accounts, or at least the accounts of people much more informed than me, Jagielo is a  legitimate two-way player who projects to hit for average and power in addition to contributing on defense. Will he be Scott Rolen? No. Can he be an above-average third baseman in the big leagues? Sure, if he develops as expected. That part is always tricky.

Because it’s been so long since the Yankees drafted a college bat like Jagielo, I really have no idea how they will handle him now that he’s agreed to a straight slot signing bonus and is ready to begin his pro career. The easy answer is an assignment to Short Season Staten Island before starting next year with High-A Tampa and hopefully finishing it with Double-A Trenton, which was the path Griffin was on until being dealt to the Athletics in the three-way Jeff Weaver/Ted Lilly trade at the 2002 deadline.

Griffin’s career started more than a decade ago, however. The Yankees have changed development personnel and stuff since then, and Jagielo is a better pro prospect now than Griffin was then. There’s not a one-size-fits-all development plan for college bats, which is why I wonder if Jagielo’s polish could earn him an assignment to High-A Tampa this year — first a few days with the Rookie GCL Yanks (who play in Tampa) as a tune-up after not playing since late-May, then a move to Tampa where they conveniently lack an everyday third baseman. It would be a true fast track.

For what it’s worth, the Yankees assigned Rob Refsnyder, another polished college hitter, straight to Low-A Charleston after selecting him in the fifth round last year, so jumping a college bat over the short season leagues into full season ball right away isn’t something the organization is unwilling to do. My general rule of thumb is if you take a college hitter in the first round and can’t send him to High-A ball to start his first full season as a pro, you took the wrong guy. Jagielo can definitely start next year with Tampa, but I wonder if the Yankees like his bat enough and think he’s polished enough to make the jump right now rather than wait until next April, especially since he mashed with wood bats in the Cape Cod League last summer. We’ll have an answer relatively soon.

2013 Draft: Yankees sign fourth rounder Tyler Wade
Draft Signing Updates: Judge, Clarkin, Coleman
  • Josh

    Can he out hit Adams? Or Youk? maybe 60/40 sarcastic…

    • Robinson Tilapia

      But some guy renounced his fandom in order to protect David Adams’s honor…

      I honestly hope you’re being 99/1 sarcastic there, FWIW.

  • pat

    No need to throw him into the fire right away, IMO. Let him bash Sally pitching for a while and get a taste of pro ball and maybe give a bump to Tampa for the playoff push at the end of the season. I’d say FSL pitching is comparable to facing the best college pitchers he’s ever faced, only every day not once a weekend or a few times a month.

    • Josh

      Would he gain much from the Sally league though? LOTS of high school pitchers there, he has already proved much better than that. DBJ mashed there with little indication of his future path.

      • Rick in Philly

        DBJ raked in the GCL and is currently in the Sally League.

        • Josh

          Sigh, thanks, apparently I need my work day to end so the brain can work again.

          I still wonder how much it would help Jagielo to spend any significant time with competition that is inferior to what he has been accustomed. High-A seems a more appropriate place for him, allowing for a short duration warm up in a lower league.

          • LarryM Fl

            I agree. Get him acclimated and returned to baseball strength then on to A Ball. Number 1 pick after 4 years of Division 1 college ball should be at least that level.

  • Darren

    Over/under for his Major League debut: August 31, 2015

    • Tyler

      Way under.

      • Darren

        Wait, you think he’ll be in the Majors BEFORE August 31, 2015?

        I hope you’re right.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Why can’t he make his debut on that date?

      I’ll take the over. I’ll say September call-up in 2015 at the earliest.

  • trr

    No Cito Culver, he.
    For the NYY, Tyler Wade is tailor made

    • trr

      Reply fail!!!
      These damn people at work, won’t leave a man and his fav blog alone.

      • The Real Me

        Work always seems to get in the way ….

  • Pat D

    Either Jagielo is ready to take over by September, or it’s time to cut ties.

    • Dalek Jeter

      You mean he isn’t taking over next week?! CASHMAN FAILED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Robinson Tilapia

        He’s not taking over next week because he’s already hurt. DUH.

        • Mason Williams Blood Alcohol Content

          I assume its a hip impingement like many all 1st round picks and 3b before him.

  • blake

    sign me up for Law’s projection right now…..that’d be awesome.

  • Cuso

    So it’s OK to be moderately excited that we got him signed so quickly.

    Mike Eric Jagiarulo. Get your ass to the Bronx.

    • Rick

      I don’t know who that last guy but I feel the same way about Jagielo.

      • Travis L.

        My guess would be a mix of the prospect and Mike Pagliarulo.

  • Bryan

    I wonder if the Yanks will give him a chance to hit in ST next Spring and maybe move up to AA before the season. Similar to Jackie Bradley.

    Also, I wonder if Sterling is reading reports and beginning to work on his call for the kid.

    • King George

      I seriously want to hear something like “There’s a bomb deep to right field. That ball is high, it is far, and it is gonnnnnneeeeee! A home run for Eric Jagielo. Go go, Jagielo!”

      • vicki

        i still say “eric JAGS one!” would make my life.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          “JAG me off, Eric!”

          Ok, maybe not.

          • vicki

            my dream was “jags it” but i backed off. the point of sterling is he doesn’t know what he’s saying, as in “coke deals.”

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Not a bad call.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        How about:

        “There’s a deep drive to right field. That ball is high, it is far, and it is gonnnnnneeeeee! A home run for Eric, he’s no Jagoff!!”

        • your mom

          “Jag-off or go home.”

          • Travis L.

            If he becomes a star…I want this T-shirt!!!

      • Darren

        Wouldn’t it have to b:e “There’s a Jaeger bomb! For Jagielo!”

        • The Real Me

          Could get an endorsement for that call.

  • James Arnold
  • Bryan

    Also did everyone see the video of Judge taking batting practice with the Yanks in Oakland???

    Dude is huuuuuuuuuge.

  • your mom

    Here’s to hoping Jag is our Long.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    In my mind, Jagielo has to get in line behind future superstar 3rd baseman DBJ so there’s no room for him above short season A ball


    • The Real Me

      He’s blocked already. Trade him.

  • Samuel

    The Yankees baseball people liked Jagielo as the second best college bat in the draft, ahead of Moran but below Bryant.

    I would start him immediately at Staten Island, which begins Monday, and bump him to Tampa (skip Charleston) if he has early success at Staten Island.