Brooklyn, New York — Eric Jagielo measures up, literally, like a New York Yankee.
At 6’2″, weighing 195 he fits the mold. So does the power he projects. But in his first professional season, Jagielo, for all his abilities is still raw, with far to go; but there were plenty of glimpses of the future in two recent games.
After making his pro debut in the GCL — playing four games — he was assigned to play third base for the Staten Island Yankees of the short-season New York Penn League. He ended July with 21 hits in twenty-three games. Through July and August combined he struck out forty times. He’s hitting .294 with fifteen hits, eight of them doubles in August.
In a game this week, he exhibited improved plate approach with every at-bat. Each time up, he showed a little bit of what he lacks, and a little of what he’s been known for since Notre Dame. There he finished with a career .291 BA, hitting eighteen home runs and knocking in 71.
Facing Brooklyn Cyclones starter Akeel Morris, one of the best pitchers in the league, Jagielo struggled to create an opportunity. Hitting third as he normally does, he struck out swinging in the first. He took a first pitch strike, but put a big swing on a pitch down in the zone. He was late on the final pitch of the at-bat.
Next time up, he went after the first pitch, but sat on the next. In a 1-1 count he swung, fouling it off, then struck out swinging again. His approach in different counts wasn’t great in either at-bat, and he’ll need to adjust that as he advances. And with the next at-bat in the 5th, he showed an ability to adjust within the game. That time, he laid off a ball on the outside corner, then took a strike in a similar spot. On 1-2 count he swung, eventually working the count full, and getting a walk. It was an exercise in patience and good recognition.
In the 7th, with Staten Island down two runs, he hit the ball hard to center for a single. It was his eighth hit in five games, after a three-game hitless stretch.
In a game the week before, he did a good job of laying off pitches on the outside corner, and later worked a four-pitch walk. In the 6th, he struck out swinging at a 94 mph fastball — the result from a nine-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off five.
Both games were an example of Jagielo’s raw power and already solid approach at the plate. He’s a bit of a free-swinger, but if he shows more patience and looks for a pitch to drive, he’ll become an even more valuable asset to the Yankees. His build suggests more power to come, with those powerful forearms and quick hands. He’s able to play a few different positions, but he’s good to average at third, where he’ll likely stick.
As the first college bat the Yankees drafted in awhile, Jagielo has some pressure on him. But in getting his reps in Short-A, he’s sharpening and polishing the already very impressive tools.
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