Heading into Spring Training 2014, let’s take a look back at the newest faces in the New York Yankee family. The bombers took three players in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft – Ian Clarkin, LHP out of San Diego, Aaron Judge, CF out of Fresno State and Eric Jagielo, 3B out of Notre Dame.
Jagielo, 21, is a particularly intriguing prospect for the Yankees at third base. The 2013 Big East Player of the Year from Downer’s Grove, Ill. was originally drafted out of high school by the Chicago Cubs in 2010. Opting instead to play at Notre Dame, Jagielo made the most of his college career.
According to his college head coach, Mik Aoki, Jagielo spent his time in college working hard to get the most out of his abilities, and his high draft selection was a testament to that rare combination of hard work and talent. Over his three years at Notre Dame, Jagielo hit .321/.420/.532 with 112 runs scored and 124 RBIs.
As a junior, Jagielo was the first player taken by the Yankees (26th overall in 2013). That selection made him the fifth-highest Notre Dame player ever taken in the MLB Draft. He’s also just the third position player from Notre Dame to ever be taken in the first round of the draft.
According to Notre Dame Athletics, Jagielo said, “It’s really hard to put this feeling into words. People always say `this is a dream come true,’ but honestly, I’m not sure I could have ever imagined it … I’m forever blessed to represent the University of Notre Dame and now I get to do the same for the New York Yankees. I still can’t believe it.”
I don’t need to tell you that third base is an area of uncertainty for the Yankees. I certainly don’t need to tell you why. So, what do Yankee fans need to know about Jagielo? First, he’s talented, hard-working and according to college coaches, has the intangibles of a mature professional.
According to fellow golden domers, Jagielo was extremely modest around campus and often hosted tailgates for ND football games. Anyone who has ever been to a football game in South Bend, Ind. knows that the domers are notorious for being welcoming with a touch of Midwestern charm.
On the diamond, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Jagielo bats left and throws right. His left-handed bat and pull-power will eventually be a great fit for the right field short porch in Yankee Stadium. Following the 2012 season with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League, Jagielo was named team MVP and all-league. That summer, he caught the eye of Major League scouts by posting a .291 BA and .374 OBP.
He brings the highly-sought-after combination of steady hitting and good defense. Admittedly, the youngster lacks quickness and needs to work on his defensive range, but nonetheless, Yankee fans should feel pretty excited about the possibilities with this young prospect. It’s worth mentioning that he also has experience in the outfield with a killer arm as ammunition, so the Yankees will enjoy some flexibility in developing Jagielo.