In ways, Eric Jagielo, the Downers Grove, Ill., native and 26th pick in the 2013 draft, wouldn’t mind forgetting the end of his 2014 season.
As the former Notre Dame star, who earned mid-season Florida State League All-Star honors, was batting in Instructional League play preparing for the Arizona Fall League, he was hit by a pitch in just under his left eye.
The result was a slight fracture of the zygomatic arch under the left eye, which required surgery and took him out of the AFL.
“Thanks to everyone for the thoughts and prayers! Surgery was successful!” the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Jagielo reported post-operation, on his Instagram account.
So what does the 2015 season hold for the 22-year-old Jagielo, who will turn 23 in May?
An injury limited him at Class-A Advanced Tampa in last summer, as he missed two months with a strained oblique. Seven of his games were rehab appearances in the Gulf Coast League, while he was limited to 85 in the FSL, 17 as a DH.
Jagielo, a right-handed thrower who swings from the left side, was impressive offensively at Tampa. He hot .259 (80-for-309), but with that came 14 doubles, an impressive 16 home runs, 54 RBIs and an OPS of .813.
Any observer will tell you 16 homers in 85 FSL games is nothing to sneeze at playing in big spring-training ballparks in the heat and humidity of the semi-tropical summer.
That power is n indication Jagielo can easily hit 20 homers or more in a full season at the upper levels.
Defensively is where the former Big East star needs work. In 68 Tampa starts at third base, he had 17 errors and a fielding percentage of .887. This was a drop from his play in the field at Staten Island, where he committed just three errors in 42 games.
For whatever reason, Jagielo scuffled in the field in 2014. He likely has earned himself a shot at the Double-A Trenton roster in 2015, but the Yankees, on one hand, do not need to rush him with Chase Headley signed through the 2018 season.
On the other hand, Miguel Andujar, another touted third-base prospect, will soon be on his tail and likely will open 2015 at Tampa.
Given his 2014 performance, Jagielo’s bat may be his carrying card.
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