Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Players With SIY Cards: Eric Jagielo

Hello and welcome to the inaugural post of a series I like to call, Players With SIY (Staten Island Yankees) Cards.
Ever since the team came to be in 1999, several Staten Island Yankees players have appeared on baseball cards. However, not every player who's ever played for the team has a card depicting them as a Staten Island Yankee. In this series we'll be focusing on the lucky few who do.
And for those of you who don't know what the Staten Island Yankees are, they're one of the New York Yankees's minor league affiliates. They're the short season a ball affiliate (2nd lowest level) in the McNamara division of the New York Penn-League (NYPL). They're based in Staten Island New York (duh) and play their home games in Richmond County (Savings) Bank Ballpark.

Okay before I begin let me just fill you all in on why certain players having SIY cards is such a big deal. The thing is, the team itself hasn't issued team sets in a while. The team used to issue team sets made by Multi-Ad or Choice but stopped after 2006 (and in case you're wondering, all of the other Yankees affiliates above rookie ball issue have continued to issue team sets). As a result there has been a long drought of official SIY cards save for a couple of cards made by companies such as Topps and Tri-Star in their MiLB-themed products and a handful made by Choice as part of their NYPL Top Prospects sets.

Alright, enough babble. Here is today's card.

2013 Choice Eric Jagielo

In my second paragraph I mentioned that Choice have issued a few SI Yanks cards as part of their NYPL Top Prospects set. Every year Choice releases a 28 card set featuring some of the best players who played in the NYPL that year with 2 representatives per team (there are 14 teams in the NYPL). This card was part of the set released in 2013 and features Eric Jagielo.

Eric Jagielo was selected out of Notre Dame by the New York Yankees in the 1st round (26th overall) of the 2013 MLB Player Draft. After spending 4 games in rookie ball he was promoted to Staten Island and finished the 2013 season with a .266 batting average, 6 HRs and 27 RBIs. Scouts have him pegged as a power hitter and with his .451 SLG and .185 ISO (per MiLB.com & fangraphs) as an SI Yankee it's easy to see why. Not to mention how he hits left and will be playing his home games in Yankee Stadium, home to the infamous short porch in right field. BOOM!
Like any prospect he's got his fair share of problems such as his tendency to strike out a lot [24.8 strikeout percentage (per fangraphs)] and as his -0.2 wSB (per fangraphs) indicates he is not a speed demon who will steal all the bases. However he is no slouch on the base paths and he also had a 11.9 walk percentage and a .344 babip (both per fangraphs), which basically means that he does manage to find ways to get on base.
Bio in the 2013 NYPL All Star Game program, Eric was one of 6 SI Yanks selected to the NYPL ASG
Now that you're all familiar with Mr. Jagielo, let's go back to talking about the card. The card itself is your ordinary licensed baseball card featuring a picture of the player and team he plays for on the front and your ordinary bio, player profile and stats on the back. The picture used was taken by professional photographer R. Pimpser (the SI Yanks' team photographer) who actually told me that apparently Choice used his picture without his permission. Which was interesting and something I'm guilty of doing myself, but I'll elaborate on that another time. On the back it says that Jagielo has been playing for 18 games as a Staten Island Yankee which would mean that this card was designed sometime around/after July 22nd (Jagielo made his Staten Island debut on July 4th).
And for those of you who are wondering, yes the card I have is autographed. I got it autographed in person on the 19th of August (in 2013) at MCU Park (home to the Brooklyn Cyclones, the NYPL affiliate of the New York Mets and crosstown rival of the SI Yanks). Unfortunately the SI Yanks (in addition to not releasing their own team sets) don't even sell the Choice NYPL Top Prospects set at the team store, so in order to get the set I have to go one of the other 13 stadiums in the NYPL which really stinks but could also be a blessing in disguise as it gives me an opportunity to see the SI Yanks as the away team and because MCU Park is a very beautiful park (seriously, it's one of the best places to just kick back, enjoy a nice cold beer and watch some baseball). Plus it takes me just as much time to get to Staten Island as it does for me to get to Coney Island (4-5 hours) so it's not like I have to spend more money on gas than I usually do.

And so this was my first installment of Players With SIY Cards. Admittedly this post is way too long and I probably delved a bit too deep with the sabermetric stuff (none of it will matter anyway since it's a short sample size and only low-a ball) but at the same time I realized that this card is probably the only SIY card in my collection with this much to say. I have a feeling that the rest of the installments will not be as long as I will not have as much to say for most of them. Right now I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Anyway, thanks for reading and I hope you come back again in the future :).