What is going on with Eric Jagielo and will he ever arrive? The Yankees took Jagielo 26th in the 2013 draft. Their second pick was a guy named Aaron Judge. Now baseball drafts are hard so I’m not trying to say that Jagielo should be doing better than everyone who was drafted after him, but as a Reds fan who has been wondering about his progress, it really shines a light on just how much he has stalled.
As a Reds fan and a collector I want Jagielo to succeed. The Reds traded Aroldis Chapman for, now big-leaguer, Rookie Davis and Jagielo in late 2015. After that I decided to put on my collector’s prospecting hat and get a little bit of a collection of him going. Just like Eric Davis became my favorite player as kid simply for sharing my name, I thought this prospect would become a focus of my Reds collection. But he had suffered a knee injury in 2015 and his production has not recovered. Most outlets have completely stopped reporting on him. So back to my first question. What is going on with Eric Jagielo?
He’s playing 1B this year. He is still listed as a third baseman but he has yet to play an inning at third. Does this mean the Reds have given up on him at the hot corner? A prospect limited to 1B this early certainly diminishes his value in my eyes. Versatile players obviously can help the team in more ways at higher levels and therefore will get more opportunities at higher levels. What does it mean for his future if he’s not trusted with his primary position in Double-A?
The Reds still have Joey Votto at 1B and that will likely be his spot for a few more years. 3B is a little more open but Eugenio Suarez is a good player. He’s not a stopgap while we wait for the Reds to develop someone better. He’s the Reds third baseman. Zach Walters and Seth Mejias-Brean are holding down first and third at the Triple-A level. Fortunately for Jagielo they represent surmountable competition, but the real reason Jagielo has moved to first is probably Nick Senzel. With Jagielo failing to shine defensively and a talent like Senzel coming up behind him there’s really no way to project him being an every day third baseman for the Reds.
It’s possible the Reds are less concerned with his defense at third and more concerned with his opportunities. That could be good news for him. But until Jagielo can start putting up the numbers that give the Reds front-office difficult decisions, it won’t really matter where he’s playing.