Scouting Report: Eric Jagielo

Notre Dame 3B Eric Jagielo

Notre Dame slugger Eric Jagielo had a loud Cape Cod League hitting .291 with 13 homers in 45 games for Harwich and built on that with a loud opening weekend in Sarasota at the Snowbird Tournament, going 6-for-11 with 2 homers and a double in front of a lot of scouts.

I'll be grading Jagielo's tools using the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is major league average, and tools are graded in 5 point increments (45 is below average, 55 is above average, 60 is plus, 70 is plus-plus). For any questions about the terminology in this report, feel free to ask in the premium message boards or shoot a message to me on Twitter @kileymcd.

Background

The 6'3, 215-pound third baseman is a good athlete for his size, has big left-handed power and scouts rave about his makeup. This is his first season playing third base regularly after being a full-time outfielder, though Jagielo got some work in at the hot corner on the Cape. Jagielo is a mature player with a mature approach and frame and has older guy skills with his value mostly tied up in his bat, but he picked the right time to hit in front of a lot of scouts, many of them bemoaning the weak draft class. He was a 50th rounder of the Cubs in the 2010 draft out of a suburban Chicago high school

Hit: 55/50

This is the tool that will make the difference for Jagielo and while he hit well in Sarasota, he isn't without his concerns. Jagielo has a setup very reminiscent of Jim Thome and his hands get into a good position to hit before he slightly wraps them late and gets his hands into a very high, deep loaded position. This position helps create more power by making a steep plane for imparting backspin on the ball and the greater length the bat has the travel helps add loft to his bat path but can also make it harder to make contact. Jagielo's first movement with his hands often is down rather than toward the ball and this will be exposed at higher levels by better pitching if he doesn't make an adjustment. These qualities make Jagielo a power and flyball oriented hitter.

Jagielo will bar (lock) his front arm at times and he doesn't always repeat his swing, with his stride varying a bit and causing some balance problems at times. On the Cape, he showed some swing and miss tendencies and this also showed up last weekend with some lunging whiffs at off speed and infield pop ups versus ordinary pitchers. Jagielo's college career plate discipline stats (55 BB, 65 K in 441 AB) are markedly better than his Cape showing (20 BB, 57 K, 168 AB) proving my point that his pitch recognition isn't top notch and wood bats and advanced pitching will impact his performance more than most. The present hit grade (55) is a peer grade, meaning Jagielo hits above average among top college hitters while the future grade is a 50, meaning I project him to be a league average hitter in the big leagues (batting average in .260s).

While I have knocked Jagielo's contact ability above, he also showed some contact attributes that allow me to think he'll be a productive big league bat. While his swing mechanics aren't always repeated, sometimes this a positive as Jagielo shows some feel for hitting by keeping his hands inside the ball and making his swing more compact when necessary, letting his hands do the work to hit balls in different parts of the zone. His finish isn't as high as his setup so he avoids a steep angle in and out of the zone and makes it easy for him to serve the ball into the opposite field when it's pitched there.

I break the hit tool into three elements: tools, bat control and plate discipline. Jagielo has good bat speed, above average strength and some looseness and bat control. His pitch recognition is below average but he has a solid overall approach to hitting and ability to adjust his swing. I have the first two elements slightly above average and the last slightly below making it easy to land on an average overall hit tool projection.

Power: 60/60

This is Jagielo's calling card—plus raw power mostly from gap to gap but he can also turn on a pitch and pull it down the line. He taps into this power in games regularly and having in-game power to the opposite field at 20 years old is a great indicator of future ability to hit for power in games. Jagielo creates his power with an aggressive hip turn, good leverage, a high hand setup, backspin and raw strength. 60 or plus power corresponds to 25 homers annually in the big leagues.

Run: 35/35

I didn't get a good run time on him all weekend but he is clearly a below average runner while also not being a clogger. He's fine as a baserunner but this isn't a big part of his game.

Defense: 40/45

I don't think Jagielo will be able to stick at third base long-term but a few scouts made a case for him this weekend, contingent on two points: his newness to third and his makeup. I can give Jagielo the benefit of the doubt and he certainly has a better chance than New Mexico's D.J. Peterson, who plays third in college but is a 1B/DH fit professionally. Jagielo is a below average runner with below average quickness and fringy hands. His range is limited and he can make routine plays but his weaknesses show up more when he starts moving laterally. Jagielo has good footwork and technique and could be a fringy defender long-term with some work but there isn't much margin for error and the defensive tools aren't inspiring.

Arm: 50/50

His arm is a little less than you'd like at third base, especially given his defensive issues, you'd like to have a big arm to make up for it. As is, it's plenty to play the position and is obviously plenty for first base. First is the logical place for Jagielo to end up eventually, but it's unclear whether it will be in 2 years or in 8 years.

Summary

Jagielo has a chance to be an everyday big league third baseman with an average bat and plus left-handed power. You can see why scouts were getting excited about him last weekend when he was making a lot of hard contact. I suggested to one scouting director that I would rank Jagielo in the 25-40 overall area and he remarked that he could see Jagielo going even higher than that because it's in drafts like these when directors feel comfortable overdrafting a bit to get a guy they're comfortable with. Lots of scouts got comfortable with Jagielo this past weekend and I think he can be a high probability solid everyday big league first baseman that will be a factor in the top 50 picks.

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