Dec
11

Prospect Profile: Eric Jagielo

By
(Robert Pimpsner)

(Robert Pimpsner)

Eric Jagielo | 3B

Background
Jagielo (pronounced “ja-guy-low”) is from the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, where he lettered all four years in baseball at Downers Grove North High School. He hit .585/.676/1.137 with 17 doubles, 16 homers, 47 runs driven in, and 52 runs scored — school records across the board — with only four strikeouts as a senior and was named First Team All-State. Despite the production, Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not rank Jagielo as one of the 30 best prospects in the state for the 2010 draft. The Cubs selected him in the 50th round with the 1,510th overall pick, the 15th to last pick in the draft.

Jagielo declined to sign and instead followed through on his commitment to Notre Dame. He started all 53 games as a freshman for the Fighting Irish and was something of a super utility man, starting 30 games in left field, 15 in center field, six at first base, and two at third base. Jagielo hit .269/.355/.418 with 13 doubles, five homers, five stolen bases (in ten attempts), 25 walks, and 30 strikeouts that year, becoming the first freshman to hit third on Opening day for Notre Dame since 1988.

Following the season, Jagielo played for the North Shore Navigators of the New England Collegiate Baseball League, where he hit .313 with seven doubles, three homers, 18 walks, and 27 strikeouts in 41 games. He was named to the league’s All-Star Team, though Baseball America (subs. req’d) did not consider him one of the ten best pro prospects in the circuit.

A breakout sophomore season with the Irish followed. Jagielo put up a .310/.399/.546 batting line with 15 doubles, 13 homers, four stolen bases (in eight attempts), 28 walks, and 34 strikeouts. He also settled in at third base, starting 45 of 58 games at the position while also mixing in a few appearances at the corner outfield spots. That earned him a spot on the All-Conference Second Team.

Jagielo cemented his status as a potential first rounder during a stint with the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League over the summer. He hit .291 with 13 homers, 20 walks, and 51 strikeouts in 42 games for Harwich and was both a midseason and postseason All-Star. Jagielo also participated in the Homerun Derby after finishing second in the league in homers. Baseball America (subs. req’d) ranked him as 14th best prospect in the prestigious wood bat league.

As a junior, Jagielo managed a .388/.500/.633 line with 19 doubles, nine homers, three steals (in six attempts), 35 walks, and 33 strikeouts in 56 games while manning the hot corner full-time. He was the best hitter on the team and pitchers pitched to him accordingly. Jagielo was voted First Team All-American and a finalist for the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the baseball equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

Baseball America (no subs. req’d) ranked Jagielo as the second best prospect in Indiana and 16th best prospect available in the 2013 draft back in the spring. Keith Law (subs. req’d) had him as the 26th best prospect in the draft class, and sure enough, the Yankees selected him 26th overall with the first of their three first round picks. That was their natural first rounder. Jagielo signed just a few days after the draft for a straight slot bonus worth a touch less than $1.84M. It’s the fifth largest bonus New York has ever given a draft player, behind Andrew Brackman $3.35M), Ian Kennedy ($2.25M), Slade Heathcott ($2.2M), and Drew Henson ($2M).

Pro Debut
Jagielo’s pro debut was delayed about two weeks by a minor quad injury he originally suffered with Notre Dame, but he eventually reported to Short Season Staten Island after a four-game tune-up in the Rookie Gulf Coast League down in Tampa. He hit .266/.376/.451 (153 wRC+) with 14 doubles, six homers, 26 walks, and 54 strikeouts in 218 plate appearances for the Baby Bombers.

Scouting Report
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 lbs., Jagielo is a bat first prospect who was one of the best pure hitters in the draft class. His left-handed swing can get a little long at times because he sets his hands up high, but otherwise he makes loud contact to all fields and projects to hit for power average and power down the line. He’s strong enough to drive the ball even when he doesn’t square it up properly.

Jagielo worked hard to improve his approach and overall plate discipline throughout his time at Notre Dame and he made some pretty big strides this year. He spits on pitcher’s pitchers off the plate and has good enough recognition to stay back on breaking balls. The improvement he showed this spring was enough to get him drafted in the first round and there’s always a chance his approach could improve even more as he gains experience and works with pro instructors. It’s also worth noting Jagielo has shown a Chase Utley/Mark Teixeira-esque knack for getting hit by pitches — he got plunked 25 times in 167 college games and eight times in 55 games after signing — contributing to his on-base ability.

In the field, Jagielo has improved his defense to the point where he is expected to remain at third long-term, though he is unlikely to be anything more than average at the position. He doesn’t have a ton of range but he is agile with some first step quickness, and his arm is plenty strong for the position. Not too many players his size have stayed at third long-term but there’s no reason to move him yet. I guess left field could be a non-first base alternative even though he doesn’t run particularly well.

Video

There is lots and lots of video of Jagielo. MLB.com has some analysis clips, MiLB.com has some homers and doubles from his time with Staten Island, and YouTube has some of everything.

2014 Outlook
After spending three years as a starting player at a fairly major college program and having a successful pro debut with Staten Island, Jagielo is ticketed for High-A Tampa to start next season. He’ll be the everyday third baseman and probably hit third or fourth. I think there’s a pretty good chance the Yankees will bump him up to Double-A Trenton at midseason as well, as long as things are going smoothly.

My Take
I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but Jagielo fills a very obvious long-term need for the Yankees as a left-handed hitting third baseman with power and patience. He’s a perfect fit in that sense, though clubs usually don’t draft for need with their first selection. I tend to prefer riskier and higher upside players in the first round and the Yankees landed two guys like that in Ian Clarkin and Aaron Judge, so Jagielo is a nice “safer” pick to balance things out. I do want to see how that improved plate discipline holds up in year two before buying in fully. There is some roughness around the edges here but not much. New York hasn’t drafted a polished all-around college hitter like Jagielo in a long time, probably not since John-Ford Griffin in 2001.

Categories : Prospect Profiles

26 Comments»

  1. lightSABR says:

    Having grown up a basketball fan, and coming to baseball only a few years ago, it continues to weird me out the way even a very talented 21-year-old can still need years of development before he’s major-league ready.

    Just a fascinating difference between the two sports, though a frustrating one for the Yankees right now – they could sure use a third baseman who hits for power and average in 2014, not just in 2016 or whenever Jags gets to the show.

    • Cuso says:

      Baseball is more skill-dependent that athletic-dependent.

      Basketball and football are very much driven by how fast you can run, how young your tendons and muscles are – fast-twitch type stuff.

      The old adage is that the hardest thing to do in sports is hit a round ball, with a round bat (at 90MPH, no less).

      Pitchers can’t make it to the majors without two plus-pitches. Very few 18 year-olds have been alive long enough to figure out two plus-pitches.

      RBs are over-the-hill at 30 years old. 30 year-olds in baseball is about the time (or 28 y/o I guess) that most starting pitchers put it all together.

      In baseball, pure speed is not as crucial as in the other sports. Jump height and bench reps also not as relevant in baseball. Baseball is just a more skilled sport than athletic sport – that’s really all it is.

      • mitch says:

        The best basketball players also play with and against each other as they’re growing up. HS baseball players are teeing off on a lot of low-80s straight fastballs with no fear of a decent breaking pitch.

    • Rick says:

      I don’t think there’s really much difference between the sports at all. There are exceptions to every rule. Most NBA players are not “good” until they’ve reached their mid 20′s. Not everyone is Durant or Westbrook and can excel at such a young age.

    • Mike HC says:

      I always think about this too. I guess some other factors to take into account is that in MLB teams have 6 years of team control, regardless of if they call up their 21 year old phenom this year, or in two years. And if you call him up at 21, you will be getting at least a couple of pre peak years. If you call him up at 23, you get much more, if not all of his prime.

  2. TWTR says:

    I hope he establishes himself at the next untouchable prospect, because they really, really need a “hit” with him, both in terms of the position he plays and the cost-control he could offer.

  3. Good feeling about this kid , first thing I noticed was he has a stance like Carl Yazstremski ! Don’t we wish :)

  4. Reggie C. says:

    Jagielo would be my preferred choice for the 2014 prospect watch. He’s probably the least likely minor leaguer in the farm to disappoint bc he’s so polished, and, even in “pitcher” friendly FSL parks, Jagielo still seems prepared to mash FSL starters.

    If it must absolutely be a pitcher, then I guess the watch should be “awarded” to Rafael DePaula.

  5. The Great Gonzo says:

    His swing and frame looks alot like Mark Reynolds, good thing his approach isn’t.

  6. W.B. Mason Williams says:

    I want him to do well fast.

    Give me a guy that hits .275/.350/.480 with 20 HR’s and I’ll jump for joy.

  7. aluis says:

    Stance hitting reminds me of Will the Thrill Clark. That said, I do think that his hands are way too high and will need lowering especially as hhe faces harder throwing pitchers in the bigs.

  8. Bryan says:

    Granted, it is not often the Yanks have a solid, polished college hitter fall to them in the draft, but I find it strange that the Yanks don’t draft more college hitters. A lot of why the Yankees tend to have such problems in their system is that they go for far more boom or bust players more so than guys like Jagielo. I hope he pans out. I would love to see him hit the big leagues in mid 15 honestly.

  9. LarryM Fl says:

    From the article I gathered that Jagielo progressed every year at every level of play from H.S. through college. IMHO he learns his lessons well. This indicates to me a player with some brain function at a high level. He was accepted at Notre Dame.

    Now, his progression may be a bit slower in the pro ranks. We shall see. It seems that he has the ability to play third base and at 6’3″, 215 lbs. he might have the stamina to stay on the field.

    We can hope with pro coaches and his lofty draft.We might have a winner with 6 years of protection on the money side to replace Arod.

  10. Mathias says:

    If he pans out to be half the player Ford-Griffin was, Jagielo will be one the smarter 1st round picks in some time for the yankees

  11. Jorge Steinbrenner (the rarely spoken-of sibling) says:

    So much for Ja-GLEE-Oh.

  12. Deuce Jagielo says:

    The name is Deuce Jagielo

  13. Hutch says:

    I say give him 15 games at each level, if he is hitting above 300 at each then move him to the next. Hope the yankees get away from this mentality that you need to be 30 before you hit the majors! Hoping to see him soon!

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