Wednesday, June 5, 2013

2013 Draft, Player of Interest: Eric Jagielo, 3b

Eric Jagielo
Notre Dame, Junior
6-3, 215 lbs, B/T: L/R
Courtesy: Unknown

Eric Jagielo combines a reasonably high floor with a reasonably high ceiling. He combines the ability to hit for average with above average power potential. He also has some defensive versatility, playing both outfield and first base early in his collegiate career before switching to third base full-time later in his career. His diversified value-drivers land him on my short list of players for the Reds to draft.

For the Fighting Irish, Jagielo hit a robust .388/.500/.633 with 9 homers and a 33/35 K/BB ratio over 196 ABs and 56 games as a junior. His K/BB ratio, more walks than whiffs, supports the notion that he uses an advanced approach at the plate. He has the ability to effectively control the strikezone, which could make him a triple threat in the slash line categories at the professional level.

In the field, there is some question as to whether Jagielo can stick at third, but his bat projects to play at any of the corner positions. Jagielo did make strides defensively as a junior, so he may be able to stick at the hot corner. However, his arm isn't strong, as he uses a short arm action, seeming to flip the ball around the infield without using much body in the throws.

Jagielo's value is driven much more by his bat. Here's a look at Jagielo in action courtesy of Steve Fiorindo on YouTube:

Jagielo generates good force despite using a compact and balanced swing. His two-handed follow-through ensures that he will have good bat control and balance in his swing. He drives his back elbow into his back hip, ensuring that his upper body is powered by the rotation of his hips. His hip rotation is strong enough to drive him up onto his toe of his back foot. Overall, he has a very smooth, fluid swing that should play in the professional ranks.

Jagielo starts his hands in a high pre-pitch position. To load his hands, he draws his hands back and down, though the hands remain fairly high. However, he uses his hands well in the swing and generates good bat speed. He effectively "throws" the barrel of the bat in the swing and makes consistent, hard contact. His combination of strong hands and good hip rotation generates plus-power.

If there is a concern with Jagielo's swing, it's in the front side. He doesn't always firm up his front side. Hitters need to have a firm front side to anchor the swing and allow the force to rotate around the body to power the swing. Occasionally, Jagielo hits with a flexed front knee, which restricts the rotation of the hips. That's the problem currently plaguing Mariner Dustin Ackley. If the front knee is flexed, then the hips frequently slide forward, bleeding force out of the swing, instead of effectively rotating to power the swing. The flexed front knee also gives his swing the appearance of dipping or scooping at the point of contact. To be an impact hitter, he'll have to consistently firm up the front side to avoid sliding his hips forward in the swing.

There's a lot to like about Eric Jagielo. His combination of batting average, on-base ability, and power potential could make him an above average MLB hitter. Mechanically, his swing is fundamentally sound and without obvious flaw. His defensive value is questionable, but the bat may be enough to carry him up the ladder.

Jagielo has enough hitting ability to land on my draft board.  

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