Baseball America's JJ Cooper and Josh Norris sat down for the Prospect Handbook Podcast the other day. They had some interesting things to say about some of the better prospects around the sport (mostly how Mookie Betts, Joey Gallo, and Gregory Polanco are crushing baseballs so far), but they also, mainly Norris, had things to say about Yankees' first round pick Eric Jagielo. Unfortunately, those things weren't exactly favorable.
At the 27:48 mark in the podcast linked above, Norris said the reviews on Jagielo "couldn't be uglier." He spoke to two scouts who told him there is "zero question" Jagielo will have to eventually move off of third base in favor of first base. Jagielo is said to have 3-grade range and a 4-grade arm (both of which are below/well-below average) at third. The 2013 first-round pick has already made six errors for the Tampa Yankees through only 17 games played at the position. Norris also notes that the High-A Tampa Yankees essentially have four glorified first baseman on the team right now in Jagielo, Dante Bichette Jr., Peter O'Brien, and Greg Bird (whenever he returns), which creates a bit of a messy situation now and potentially down the road.
What's worse than the negative defensive reports about Jagielo, though, is that the lefty swinger is "not going to hit," according to scouts. They say that Jagielo may make a minor league All-Star team simply because he'll hit a few home runs, but for whatever reason, scouts do not like his bat. In the early going, Jagielo is hitting .239/.343/.409 with a 120 wRC+ in 102 plate appearances at Tampa. At only 22, however, Jagielo does have plenty of time on his side to improve his game on both the offensive and defensive sides. Even for a guy coming out of college, Jagielo is still a little over a half of a year younger than the average player in the Florida State League.
On the positive-end of things, Norris had some good things to say about 22-year-old Triple-A outfielder Ramon Flores (~11:00 in the podcast). According to Norris, Flores is one of the three players, along with Polanco and Jonathan Singleton, he's seen to have an "advanced approach" at the plate, noting that he's not afraid at all to fall behind 0-2 in the count. Norris watched the RailRider/Bulls' series in Durham recently and said that Flores would have hit three home runs (two of which turned into doubles) in the series if not for the Green Monster-esque sized left field wall in Durham, NC.
Norris also called Flores a "professional hitter," but said that he doesn't have enough speed to play in center and doesn't have enough power to play at a corner spot, something we've heard for years now. He concluded that Flores is an "interesting trade chip," albeit more of a secondary piece in a potential trade than a headliner. In his first taste of Triple-A, Flores is hitting .280/.394/.463 with a 145 wRC+ through 99 PA's. Although it's still pretty early, it's nice to see Flores, who has been in the system for what feels like forever, get off to a strong start and be just a phone call away from the majors if needed.