Archive for Eric Jagielo
Baseball America published their list of the top ten Yankees prospects today, and the list is free for all. The scouting reports, however, are not. You’ll need a subscription to read them. The name atop the list won’t be a surprise, but things are pretty wide open after that. They could have gone in any number of directions. Here’s the top ten:
- C Gary Sanchez
- OF Slade Heathcott
- OF Mason Williams
- C J.R. Murphy
- 3B Eric Jagielo
- OF Aaron Judge
- LHP Ian Clarkin
- 1B Greg Bird
- RHP Luis Severino
- 2B Gosuke Katoh
The feature also includes a list of the organization’s top 15 players under the age of 25 and none of the 15 are big leaguers. Can’t say I’m surprised. Those ten guys up there are the top ten and are followed (in order) by LHP Manny Banuelos, SS Abi Avelino, RHP Jose Ramirez, RHP Jose Campos, and RHP Rafael DePaula. I suspect those guys will be prospects 11-15 when the Prospect Handbook comes out in a few weeks. The notable omission is OF Tyler Austin, who had an okay year but dealt with injury problems, specifically a bone bruise in his right wrist. It forced him from the Arizona Fall League after only four games. His stock took a hit this summer.
Sanchez, who has “effortless, well-above-average raw power and an above-average hit tool,” is an easy call for the top spot, especially now that his defense has improved. After him? I don’t see how there could be a consensus. I think it’s somewhat interesting that the top three prospects all have some kind of makeup concern — Sanchez was suspended for insubordination in 2011, Heathcott has had drug an alcohol problems, Williams was arrested for DUI earlier this year and has had run-ins with coaches — despite the team’s renewed emphasis on character. In the end, talent always reigns supreme. Can’t teach it.
A few things from the write-ups stand out. Williams “adopted an Ichiro-style slapping approach” this year and didn’t show the same tools as he had last year. Like Austin, he took a step back. The Yankees project Murphy as a “potential future .280 hitter with 10-12 homer power” while Sanchez is regarded as more of a “.260-.270 hitter with at least 20 home runs annually.” Both profiles fit just fine behind the plate. As for Bird, “some scouts and SAL managers questioned his future power” despite his awesome year. The plate discipline and everything else is fine, but low-power first baseman aren’t exactly a hot commodity. Severino is said to have “raw stuff that is as good as any Yankees farmhand” with a fastball that “sits between 93-95 mph and touches the upper 90s often.” His slider was his best secondary pitch when he signed but his changeup has since surpassed it. Neat.
Heathcott and Murphy are the only players in the top ten slated to open next season with Triple-A Scranton, and I suppose there’s a chance Heathcott will be sent back to Double-A Trenton to start the year. That’s unlikely though. The Yankees didn’t have any big league ready help this past season and for the most part, that will be the case again in 2014. Their farm system took a slight step back overall but not as big as it would have been without those three first rounders. The team needed to add some impact talent and it did with that draft. Most of their highest ceiling prospects are in the low minors — the short season leagues — and will need time to develop.
Baseball America’s look at the top 20 prospects in each minor league continued today with the Short Season NY-Penn League. OF Harold Ramirez (Pirates) grabbed the top spot despite being only 18 years old in a league mostly full of experienced college draftees. The Yankees landed one player on the list: 3B Eric Jagielo at number six. That’s not surprising; the Staten Island squad was littered with fringe prospects.
Jagielo, 21, hit .266/.376/.451 (153 wRC+) with six homers in 218 plate appearances after being the team’s first of three first round picks in June. “He has a smooth lefthanded swing with good rhythm, and he can turn on a fastball or wait back for an offspeed pitch,” said the subscriber-only scouting report. “His swing can get long at times, but he projects as a solid-average hitter with plus power potential … He’s a below-average runner, and he doesn’t figure to have the mobility to be a standout at third, but most evaluators give him a chance to stick at the position. He has enough arm strength and good accuracy.”
The Yankees had six players on the Rookie Level Gulf Coast League list. The next list of interest is the Low-A South Atlantic League, which will be released tomorrow. 1B Greg Bird is a lock and so is RHP Rafael DePaula, assuming he has enough innings to qualify. I’m pretty sure he does. RHP Jose Campos has a decent chance to make the list, OF Jake Cave, 2B Angelo Gumbs, and LHP Dan Camarena less so.
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.
2:06pm: The Yankees have announced the signing, so it’s a done deal. Jagielo came through the physical fine and his contract is official. It is the fifth largest bonus they have ever given a drafted player, behind Andrew Brackman, Ian Kennedy, Slade Heathcott, and Drew Henson.
11:31am: Via Jim Callis: The Yankees and first round pick Eric Jagielo have agreed to a $1,839,400 signing bonus, which is exactly slot for the 26th overall pick. Yesterday we heard the Notre Dame third baseman was already in Tampa, presumably to take his physical. The contract is not official yet, but it shouldn’t be long before it’s done.
Jagielo, who just turned 21 last month, hit .388/.500/.633 with nine homers and more walks (35) than strikeouts (33) in 56 games for the Fighting Irish this spring. The book on him is that he’s a left-handed hitter who projects to hit for both power and average at the next level while sticking at the hot corner. He has experience at first base and in the corner outfield spots as well, but they are fallback options at this point. I assume Jagielo will begin his pro career with Short Season Staten Island when the season starts next week.
Keep tabs on the team’s draft pool with our 2013 Draft Pool page.
With their first pick in this year’s draft (#26 overall), the Yankees selected Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo. Here’s my write-up on him. Earlier today we heard New York was seeking a college bat with their top pick, and that’s exactly what they got.