2016 Reds

Scouting Report: Eric Jagielo

The Aroldis Chapman era ended Monday, as the Reds traded their star closer to the Yankees for four minor leaguers: right-handed starter Rookie Davis, corner infielder Eric Jagielo, reliever Caleb Cotham, and infielder Tony Renda.

After Davis, Jagielo is regarded as the second-most important piece in the deal for the Reds. Here’s what we know about him…


The 23-year-old Jagielo is a 6-2, 215-pound prospect whose primary position is third base. The Notre Dame product was selected by the Yankees with the 26th overall selection in the 2013 amateur draft. A pick later, the Reds took outfielder Phillip Ervin, who reached Double-A Pensacola last season. (I’m told the Reds would have taken Jagielo over Ervin.)

Originally drafted by the Cubs in the 50th round of the 2010 draft out of Downers Grove (Ill.) High School, Jagielo reached Double-A last summer before a knee injury cut short his season in mid-June. Jagielo has played third base in 156 of his 159 career minor league games; he played first base in the other three.

Prior to the 2015 campaign, Jagielo, who bats left-handed and throws right-handed, was ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Yankees’ system by FanGraphs after being ranked No. 3 by FG prior to the 2014 season. Jagielo failed to crack the top 10 in Baseball America’s ranking of New York’s system (published on Dec. 21), but was slotted as the sixth-best Yankees prospect by MLB.com before the site reorganized its database post-trade. Baseball America had Jagielo ranked as New York’s No. 5 prospect after the 2013 season.

Because of the Reds’ shallow position player talent pool at the Double-A and Triple-A level, Jagielo instantly becomes the Reds’ top prospect at third base and possibly their top infield prospect altogether, depending on how one feels about Jose Peraza.

What The Scouts Say

FanGraphs: “Jagielo is a pretty straightforward prospect: he has plus power from the left side and the hope is he’ll have a 50 bat and 50 defense at third base, but both are a little fringy right now for scouts. If it all clicks, he’s an above average regular and those two tools hold at fringy or below average, he’s a borderline 45/50 FV first baseman.”

MLB.com: “Jagielo offered some of the best left-handed pop available in the 2013 Draft, so the Yankees made him their first of three first-round selections and signed him for $1,839,400. … Jagielo has provided the power that was expected of him, slamming 24 homers in 147 games during his first two years as a pro. He’s strong and features good loft in his swing, allowing him to drive the ball to all fields. His tendency to swing and miss may preclude him from hitting for a high average, but he does draw enough walks to post healthy on-base percentages. With well below-average speed and just average arm strength, Jagielo still has to prove he can stay at the hot corner. Some scouts think he’s better suited for first base, though he’s already the Yankees’ most advanced third-base prospect and won’t move anytime soon. He was hit in the face by a pitch during instructional league, fracturing the zygomatic arch near his left eye and requiring surgery, but shouldn’t have any long-term issues.

Pinstriped Prospects: “Many scouts agree the best position for in the field for Jagielo, with his excellent power potential, is first base.”


Aside from Jagielo’s brief stints in rookie ball in 2013 and 2014, here are his key minor league numbers. Note: PAs=plate appearances.

Year Level PAs Slash ISO BB% K% wRC+
2013 A- 218 .266/.376/.451 .185 11.9 24.8 153
2014 A+ 359 .259/.354/.460 .201 10.6 25.9 132
2015 AA 248 .284/.347/.495 .212 7.3 23.4 141

Bottom Line

Two freak injuries have curtailed Jagielo’s ascension in the minors. Jagielo needed surgery to fix a broken bone in his face after being hit with a fastball late in the 2014, and he underwent a lateral meniscus scope on his right knee in late July after injuring himself sliding into home in mid-June.

When he has been on the field, Jagielo has flashed his publicized pop; he notched 27 extra-base hits in 58 games in 2015. While Jagielo’s strikeout rate is certainly concerning, it’s mitigated by the fact that he’s proven he can draw a walk. Some talent evaluators believe Jagielo is better suited for first base — reports indicate he’s not athletic enough to move to a corner outfield position — but as long as Joey Votto is a Red, there’s no chance of that happening. So, the Reds will probably have to go through some growing pains with Jagielo’s fielding at the hot corner, but given his relatively small sample size, that seems like a fine option.

Had Jagielo undergone a full season at Double-A in 2015, it’s likely he could’ve seen playing time with Cincinnati in 2016. That may still happen, but a big-league promotion would likely need to be preceded by a trade of Zack Cozart and Brandon Phillips, which would allow presumed Opening Day third baseman Eugenio Suarez to move over to shortstop and place Jose Peraza, the crown jewel of the Todd Frazier trade, at second base.

With the Reds continuing to target prospects closer to playing in the majors instead of higher-ceiling farmhands further away from the bigs, the organization has to hope Jagielo is ready to be their everyday third baseman sometime during the 2017 campaign. In the end, Jagielo is the player who will determine how this trade looks in five years for the Reds. If Jagielo can evolve into a league average third baseman, the Reds will have won this trade, regardless of how the other three prospects pan out.

31 thoughts on “Scouting Report: Eric Jagielo

  1. Yep, I agree, the major value in this trade hinges on Jagielo’s ability to play everyday at 3B. If not, then this trade looks to be another in which the Reds accepted less than what they should have received, or could have received if they traded Chapman at a different time.

    Davis’ ability to stick in the rotation also has a part to play in the value of this trade. Right now, Doug Gray rates Davis as the Reds #15 prospect behind Stephenson, Travieso, Garrett, Reed, Romano, Mella, Lamb, and Mahle as starting pitchers. That’s not counting Lorenzen and Finnegan who are no longer prospects nor Bailey, Iglesias, or Disco who are currently in the rotation. Even if he’s in the same “tier” as Romano, Mella, Lamb, and Mahle that’s still a significant group of talent ahead of him, both in prospect ranking and MLB closeness.

    If the return ends up being two bench players and two relievers for Chapman, this may go down as a pretty lopsided traded in the Yankees favor. If it ends up being an everyday 3B and a SP then it’s lopsided in favor for the Reds. Those scenarios appear to be the ceiling and floor.

    • Average: Measure of central tendency
      3B: Baseball (game) position, AKA “hot corner”

  2. I would think Jag would start at AAA at 3B. Hopefully, he will ascend to at least be a helpful utility piece with LH power in the near future.

    But, what I want to talk about is the Reds prime opportunity to revolutionize the game in the way they handle the entire pitching staff. I mean revolutionize the game in the sense that Wyche’s Bengals No-Huddle offense. Nothing is expected of them now, so why not? It will create a national stir and get the locals buzzing, but more importantly create more win chances for the Reds. It will promote a more rested bullpen by identifying more specific roles for all pitchers, reducing wasted warmups. It will reduce the need for a “lights out” closer. It will work best with 4 (at least 3) LH pitchers, failing that as many as possible. The ultimate goal is to have your best 5 pitchers to pitch the most meaningful innings, that includes the last inning when possible. How do you do that? How about delaying his outing by 2 or 3 innings? Rotate a 3-man group of LH pitchers to begin each game for 2-3 innings. Rotate a 5-man group of RH pitchers (the traditional SPs) to pitch the next 6-7 innings. Rotate a 4-man group of pitchers to finish the game when necessary. Does the opposing manager match his lineup to the short beginning pitcher or the long middle pitcher? The Reds should get about 100 innings out of each pitcher in the 3 man LH group and still get about 200 innings out of each pitcher in the 5 man RH group. There will be fewer innings for the traditional setup men and closers.

    I nominate: Finnegan, Lamb & Cingrani as the 3-man short starting group;
    Bailey, DeSclafani, Iglesias, Lorenzen & Moscot as the 5-man long middle group;
    Hoover, Diaz, Stephenson & Reed as the 4-man finishing group.
    For example (I know Bailey will not be ready in April, but for illustration):
    Game 1: Finnegan 2 IP, Bailey 7 IP.
    Game 2: Lamb 3 IP, DeScalafani 6 IP.
    Game 3: Cingrani 2 IP, Iglesias 7 IP.
    Game 4: Finnegan 2 IP, Lorenzen 6 IP, Hoover 1 IP.
    Game 5: Lamb 2 IP, Moscot 6 IP, Diaz 1 IP.
    Game 6: Cingrani 2 IP, Bailey 7 IP.
    etc, etc, etc.

    • I know it’s not the major premise of your post, but I think Jagielo repeats AA. He only played 58 games at that level, and from my understanding hasn’t been added to the 40-man year (as a 2013 pick). That gives him a little time.

      Seth Mejias-Brean is a solid defender at 3B, and has demonstrated above average on-base skills at every level, and until AA had hit for good average. I think he will move up to AAA after spending all of last year at AA. I think he still has a solid chance of being a useful bench piece for the Reds as a corner infielder.

      Taylor Sparks, formerly the Reds best 3B prospect, was rushed to A+ last year due to Tanner Rahier’s legal issues. Sparks skipped over Low-A completely. And while he ended up having a solid year, there really is no need to rush him, or Gavin LaValley who was rushed to Dayton last year because Sparks was pushed to A+.

      Once short season ball starts, the Reds can adjust personnel as necessary in order to find a spot for Brantly Bell to play. Or both he and LaValley can split time at the corners and DH.

    • This is a novel concept. I like it to a certain point. We always hear that for a starting pitcher, when the hitters start the 3rd time through the lineup, the batting average vs. that pitcher usually soars. This would certainly attack that area.
      But I would submit a couple of small tweaks. Have 4 pitchers start games, either handed for 3 innings. R-L-R-L would be ideal. Then have the next pitcher be the bulk pitcher in innings that pitches up to 5 innings and possibly a 6th. This pitcher, like in your scenario, is opposite handed from the starter. Hopefully neither pitcher has to face a batter a third time through the lineup. Then you have 4 guys to choose from to finish it up for 1 inning, if need be. You can do away with situational pitching like LOOGYs. You still have 12 pitchers on the roster. You might even cut down on elbow and arm injuries with this type of system. It might be something you could experiment with in the lower minors levels to see how it worked out in actuality, and not just on paper.

    • I like contrarian thinking and applaud the effort….but:

      Why do you consider the last 3 innings to be more meaningful than the first 3? Is a run in the first worth less than a run in the 7th? If Finnegan is shelled in the first, do you want to bring in a rested Bailey (assuming he’s your best pitcher) down 6-0 when you have less than a 10% chance to win? Wouldn’t you push Bailey back to the next day, but what affect does that have on his routine making him more susceptible to injury? Would pitchers buy in?

      • Why do you consider the last 3 innings to be more meaningful than the first 3?


        Without going back and running the numbers, I’d guess that because most games are close enough that the decisive run(s) are scored in the last three innings. If a game tying or lead changing run is scored in the last 3 innings, opposition has fewer outs remaining to respond to it. So it makes sense to load up for then last three inning from both the point of view of protecting a lead and staying even or not falling further back.

        • It has to do with the number of times that a batter has seen the same pitcher in the game. If a batter has 3 at bats against Bailey when he comes up to see him a forth time he is going to know more or less what to expect and be able to make better adjustments. if going into the late innings you can put in a pitcher that each batter hasn’t seen before then they have no chance to prepare or make adjustments.

    • With Bailey not available till May, and the nature of his surgery being what it is, I suspect he will be on some sort of short leash, pitch/inning count-wise. Since most of the other potential starters will also be innings-limited, why not go with a six man rotation, which is refreshed throughout the season with Louisville’s standout performers (if any). As arms approach their limit, shut them down, and try the next guy. I am prepared for a 100-loss season, so what difference does it make? Other than Stephenson, I don’t think “starting the clock” will be that big a deal for any of the others? Maybe Reed?

      Also, don’t you think the Reds will shop Bailey as soon as he demonstrates he has come all the way back?

      • I think whether Bailey gets shopped depends on how the rest of the pitching is doing and what’s going on with the position players. If a .500+ possible WC contention season looks plausible as early as 2018, they hold Bailey as a keystone of that rotation. If not they move him.

    • Just like the Cubs’ “College of Coaches” revolutionized the managerial game? 😉

      I would love to see your idea in action. No pitcher would reach their max innings, and you could stretch some arms out.

    • One of the more novel and intriguing ideas I’ve heard in quite a while. Really only tenable in scenarios when your Top 5 are not clearly superior either due to surplus of talent, or large paucity of it. I’m very intrigued. $50 says Joe Maddon initiates it first and the Reds are the very last team to do it, despite currently being best built for it.

      One downside: the best 3 hitters (usually) start each game for each team, guaranteed, the rest is uncertain. In this only guaranteed frame of the game (1st inning), you’ll always be running out a pitcher who is not one of your top 5 right? What if Bailey enters pitching to 7-8-9, bases empty. Now 2 of 9 frames are sub-optimally managed. And Bailey could still be tired in the 9th. I dunno. Huge kudos to you if that post was your original thought.

  3. Of course in the real world, there will be poor performances and just generally bad or extra inning games that will blow the consistency of the 3-man short starting group out of the water. In reality, the games will be started by the best choice available who hasn’t pitched for at least 2 days. That’s ok, so long as a concerted effort is made to re-establish and maintain that group. An additional quirk that I find as a positive is that there ought to be many more W-L decisions for the 5-man long group. They are more likely to still be in the game when the final lead change happens! I hope those are Ws. Perhaps we will get a 20 game winner or loser out of the bunch.

  4. Just finished the research for my scouting report on Rookie Davis. There’s a surprising amount to like. I think he slots right in with the other top AA pitching prospects the Reds have, like Amir Garrett. Davis had a breakout season in 2015, nothing much before that. That’s why he’s late climbing the various prospect rankings. “Late” in the sense of a 22-year-old pitching at High-A is late. He’s a full year younger than Garrett.

    • Report on Davis publishes tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. (assuming no big news pushes it back).

    • Just as a point of reference where do you see Garrett in relationship to Reed? I’d guess you have Reed ahead but since he isn’t on the 40 man and Garrett is due to his prior NCAA roundball involvement slowing his progress, they could actually push Garrett ahead of Reed.

      • Doug Gray and MLB.com have Garrett (#4) ahead of Reed. I trust Doug on that.

        • Good “political” answer. I think the duo of Garrett and Reed reflect an intersection of potential (Garrett) and performance to date (Reed).

          I think it will be a very tough call to leave Reed at AA this spring after his run when he came over to the Reds org. It would behoove Garrett to have a big spring and first half to force a mid year promotion to AAA

          If Davis fits in with them on either category, it is a good thing for the Reds.

        • I don’t think there’s any real concern Reed will be in AA. with the depth the Reds have in the system. He and Stephenson should anchor the AAA staff along with some of the guys who don’t make the Reds rotation (like Finnegan, Lorenzen, and Moscot)

          Travieso, Garrett, Romano, Davis, Mella, and Jackson Stephens all pitched well in A+ last year and spent the whole year there (outside of 23 innings for Romano and 33 innings for Davis in AA). Then there’s a group of guys from Dayton that will move up in Mahle, Strahan, and Antone to join Seth Varner (who pitched very well in 60 or so A+ innings last year) and some assortment of Crawford (injured) Armstrong (injured) or Paulson who pitched very well in A+ down the stretch.

  5. I am getting quite an ‘informed info overload’! I am learning so much about our farm system. Thanks all.

    Of course, there are probably more trades to come. The deck will probably be shuffled a few more times before Opening Day.

    Who goes next?

    A) Bruce

    B) Hamilton

    C) Phillips

    D) Some pitching

    • The question should be: Who’s Next

      Answer: Won’t Get Fooled Again

      My answer is that Hamilton isn’t going anywhere, Phillips (Who Knows?), and Bruce could go now or next July/offseason. Excess pitching traded next offseason at the earliest or two offseasons from now?

    • Phillips doesn’t want to go anywhere and there are at least half a dozen better options than Bruce on the free agent market. I could see the Reds offering up one of their young pitchers with Bruce handcuffed to him in order to accept the trade

      • Yes, there won’t be a market for Bruce until some of the free-agents are off the board.

  6. If the Yankees and these other scouting reports case doubt on Jagielo’s ability to play 3B in the AL, wouldn’t this lack of mobility and other issues be even more crippling deficiencies in the NL? If so, then really isn’t his ceiling a left handed bat off the bench a year or two down the road?

    • Scott Rolen wasn’t exactly fleet of foot, esp. for his last decade in MLB. Jagielo is considered an average fielder, but what he does give you is plus power. How fast do you need to run after you hit the ball over the fence?

      • Time will tell if you are right and I am wrong on his offensive abilities. But when I go out on the Net and read about him hardly anyone was projecting that he could eventually handle the hot corner for the Yankees. The consensus seems to be that he is not average, rather that he is better suited for 1B or DH. As for the Rolen comparison, the scouting reports on Rolen from the beginning (he was drafted as a 2B) universally agreed that he was excellent defensively. His glove was ready before his bat was. You have be able to get into the lineup to hit it over the fence and I have doubts that this guy be anything but a defensive liability.

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