The future of the left side of the Yankees' infield is currently a mess with no answers in sight. Knowing that to be the case, the Yankees used their first pick of the first round at 26th overall to draft 21-year-old Notre Dame junior third baseman Eric Jagielo instead of going with their long-rumored pick of New Jersey high school pitcher Rob Kaminsky. Coming out of college, Jagielo gives the Yankees the potential to move him up through the system quickly, which they desperately need with Alex Rodriguez likely moving to DH in the near future. It's easy to start dreaming about a big, strong lefty with power playing half his games in Yankee Stadium, and that is exactly what Jagielo brings to the table.
The Chicago Cubs drafted Jagielo out of high school in the 50th round of the 2010 draft out of Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, Illinois, where he is from. In three seasons at Notre Dame, Jagielo batted .321 with 27 home runs and and a .532 slugging percentage. He was named the 2013 Big East Player of the Year and was named Baseball America's #1 MLB prospect in the Big East conference. Before entering his junior season, Jagielo played with the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod League, where he hit thirteen homers, was named MVP, and made the all-league team. Jagielo is only the third position player to ever be drafted out of Notre Dame.
Before drafting Jagielo, the Yankees had not drafted a college player with their first pick in six years, and hadn't drafted a college position player with their first pick since 2001. There is some speculation that Jagielo may not ultimately stay at third base for his professional career, but ESPN's Christopher Crawford believes he will stay there, at least for the short-term. Keith Law believes that Jagielo is one of the most polished college bats in this year's draft with the agility to make it as a big league third baseman, even if he is among the bigger players at the position at 6'3", 215 pounds.
It wouldn't be surprising for the Yankees to start Jagielo off in Low-A Charleston if they can agree to terms over the next month or so. Coming out of college and being labeled as polished, there is little reason to have him toil around at any level below that, and the Yankees won't have a ton of reason to hold him back if he finds continued success at a level for any length of time.
What they're saying about him:
Damon Oppenheimer | Yankees' vice president of amateur scouting
"Eric Jagielo is a physical left-handed hitter with plus power. He performed well in Cape Cod and shows a good combination of plate discipline and power."
Keith Law | ESPN
"He's quick enough to keep his hands inside the ball and doesn't project to have trouble with better velocity. I could see him as a 20-homer guy with mid-.300 OBPs who plays solid-average defense in a few years, which makes him an everyday guy who could make an All-Star Game or two."
Mik Aoki | Notre Dame baseball coach
"Eric is one of the most talented hitters I've ever been around. What I'm probably most proud of is that he's worked so diligently to make the most of that talent. His selection today is a testament to that talent and hard work."
Christopher Crawford | ESPN
"Because of his advanced plate approach, I could see him in pinstripes sometime in 2014, early 2015."
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