Jake Yacinich, Shortstop
HT : 6'1
WT : 180 lb.
DOB : March 2, 1993, Des Moines, IA
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
Acquired : Drafted in 8th round (239th overall) of 2014 June Draft
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : Packers Fan! / Coaches kids in the off-season
Remember that college kid you saw steal home on Sports Center? Or, how about when the Angels took like a million pitchers in the draft, but didn't take any needed infielders and suddenly did? Well, both those guys happen to be the same dude.
Jake Yacinich's professional debut was cut short to an injury, but that doesn't mean there's a load of talent behind what little we know about him. He's ready to come back healthy and ready for a strong 2015, and could be climbing the prospect ladder for years to come.
Despite what the numbers may read, Yacinich had a solid glove and is a natural set shortstop. He has to learn to play the ball with a little more ease, but has shown consistency with both his feet, range, and arm that will keep him at short, and he could become one of the more solid defensive shortstops in the system soon.
Yacinich is a natural athlete, and with that comes unnatural speed and elusive footwork on the base paths. He may be one of the better base stealers and base runners in the system already. Yacinich uses his athleticism to make plays on the paths and be able to make proper dives forward, downward, and in any other motion with ease.
Yacinich's bat is a big question mark at the time, as he lacks power, but does have a smooth swing allowing him to make good contact. Power may come in the later years but will never be all that impressive. His contact abilities and speed could help him to become an extra base threat on occasions.
Yacinich has a keen eye, and can draw walks and lay off bad pitches. He doesn't have much swing and miss to his game, which also helps his aggressive approach at the plate.
As a junior in high school, Yacinich hit .434, leading his team to a Conference Title. In his senior year, Yacinich hit .475 with three home runs, helping lead him team to a Conference and State Championship. Yacinich was a Three-Time All-Conference, Two-Time All-State and Two-Time All-District honoree.
In his freshman year at Iowa, Yacinich hit .292 in 46 games, picking up eight doubles, one triple, 57 total bases, 24 RBI and 24 runs scored. Yacinich went a perfect nine for nine in stolen base attempts. Yacinich picked up a pair of walkoff hits his freshman year, and picked up multiple hits in 15 games. Yacinich ranked first in the Big Ten and 22nd in the nation with 14 sacrifice bunts. Yacinich hit .308 against right-handed pitchers, .388 with runners on and .426 with RISP.
Despite a pair of quick stints on the DL late in the season, Yacinich played 34 games as a sophomore, batting .286 with 48 total bases, 24 RBI, 22 runs scored, and six multi-RBI games. Yacinish began the season with a five-game hit-streak, and picked up again with a seven-game streak in the middle of the season. During one stretch, Yacinich reached base in 10 straight games, and had 13 multi-hit games. Yacinich hit .362 with RISP and .318 against right-handed pitchers, helping him be named to the Big Ten Baseball Player to Watch list.
Yacinich had more than just a breakout year his junior year, but thrived in the Big Ten while doing so. He finished with a .365/.438/.447 slash, with 45 runs scored and 32 RBI. Yacinich had 23 of his 52 games go for multiple hits and had eight multi-RBI games. Yacinich had five three or more RBI games, and six games where he scored three or more runs.
Yacinich stole 25 bases his senior season, which ranked second in the Big Ten. His biggest steal came in Tournament game where he stole home, earning a spot on Sports Center's Top 10 Plays. Yacinich ranked second in the Big Ten in steals and batting average, and was ranked fourth in hits, on-base percentage and triples. These all helped him be named to the First-Team All-Big Ten team, ABCA First-Team All-Mideast Region, and First-Team All-Big Ten Team by College Sports Madness.
Yacinich had a tough time in his first taste of pro ball, only making it a week before getting a foot injury that took his season from him. In his six games, Yacinich went 3-for-17 with a double, two RBI, four walks, five runs scored, and seven errors.
Yacinish is coming back to 2015 healthy, and should be able to put together his first full season and give everyone an idea of who he really is. Rookie Ball may be the calling card at the moment, but that doesn't mean the Angels are against sending him to Low-A out of Spring Training with a quality Spring.
At the moment, Yacinich is considered a future Major Leaguer with a bench role. However, with an improved bat and a full concept of what this prospect really brings, Yacinich could be an every day starter at some point in his career. His current ETA for the Majors sits at late 2018 to early 2019.
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Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.