Prospect Countdown #29 : Jake Yacinich

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #29 : Shortstop, Jake Yacinich (photo : Travis Berg)

Jake Yacinich, Shortstop

HT : 6'2
WT : 195
DOB : March 2, 1993 (22), Des Moines, Iowa
Throws : Right
Bats : Left
School : University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA)
Acquired : Drafted in 8th Round of 2014 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #49


In Iowa, there is one name that rises above the rest when baseball is brought up. Jake Yacinich was a star in high school and college, both in the Des Moines region. Just over 140 miles away, still in Iowa, Yacinich began his professional career in Burlington as a professional ball player. Now, Yacinich is looking to take his future to Southern California with the Los Angeles Angels, and step-by-step, he's likely to get there in a short time.


SCOUTING REPORT:

There was a questions about Yacinich's bat when he was drafted, and the questions still remain with answers beginning to come slowly. He has a compact swing from the left-side, with some instances where it opens up to go the opposite way and his swing lengthens. Despite this, Yacinich doesn't have much swing-and-miss to his game and does put the ball in play consistently. He will need to use more of his frame to tap into any power potential he may have.

As for power, Yacinich doesn't have much to show. His swing is primarily an upper body motion so he doesn't gain much drive from his legs. However, he is fresh out of college without much professional coaching behind him, and still has his college swing with him and is competing at the mid and high levels of the minors. As he grows as a hitter, you may see his compact swing result in line drive power and a high amount of doubles.

Yacinich has a simple approach, and that's put a good swing on the ball and let it fall. He does allow the game to come to him, and is aggressive in his approach. Once again, as he grows, he'll learn a little more patience when needed, and could become a small ball threat at the plate. Above anything else in his approach, Yacinich does get the bat to the ball and does put the ball in play.

In the field, Yacinich is a wiz at shortstop. He has a quick first step, which allows him to range to both sides with ease. He has an arm to back up, and may come in as the best arm for a shortstop in the system. Over the last season, Yacinich had the game come to him with more ease, and you began to see a professional fielder in the six hole. With this mix of tools, there's no question he'll remain at shortstop as opposed to moving through the infield, but he can play the entire left side and second base if needed.

Yacinich is a natural athlete, and he uses his athleticism and knowledge of his body to find unnatural speed. His quick first step doesn't just help in the field but also on the base paths, where he uses his speed to nab bases and keep his all around game aggressive. He will need to learn how to read pitchers slightly better, but hasn't been a problem on the paths. With some added in-game knowledge, Yacinich should play well as an aggressive runner that could make an impact late in games.

Yacinich has played through injuries for the majority of his career, and his professional career has been the same story. His first season was cut short by a foot injury, and this past season a separated shoulder took him out for some time and eventually took his entire season in mid-August as he opted for surgery on his rotator cuff. This comes with his grinding style, but his health will always be questioned as a result.

VIDEO : Midwest League Prospects

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

After being a state championship, three-time All-Conference, two-time All-State and All-District selection in high school, Yacinich took his talents across the street to the University of Iowa where he finished his collegiate career with a .317/.372/.377 slash, 91 runs, 18 doubles, five triples, 80 RBI and 78 stolen bases in 140 games.

Yacinich highlighted his collegiate career in his junior season where he hit .365/.438/.447 with 45 runs and 38 RBI. In that season, Yacinich's .365 batting average ranked second best in the Big Ten, along with his 25 stolen bases. He also ranked in the top five in hits, on-base percentage and triples. This helped him to be named a First-Team All-Big Ten selection.

After being drafted, Yacinich was limited to just 22 plate appearances due to a foot injury. He then took on a sophomore professional season that saw his true talents come forth. Between both Single-A affiliates, Yacinich hit .268/.310/.338 with 11 doubles and 54 runs scored.

For Yacinich, Single-A Burlington was just another part of an Iowa story, and he made sure to turn it into a legacy. In his second game with the Bees, Yacinich collected a walk-off single. In his first 50 games at Burlington, Yacinich hit .312/.366/.377 with eight doubles, 37 runs scored, 18 RBI and six stolen bases, helping him be named a Midwest League All-Star.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

Sources close to Scout have brought out that Yacinich should be recovered from his surgery by Minor League Opening Day, but how he recovered will show in Spring Training and give a result of his landing place. Regardless, it will be one of the Single-A affiliate, likely a return to Burlington to begin.

Yacinich's development will be a large part of the role he plays in the future for the Angels. His defense is already ahead of his playing grade, but the bat and approach will need to progress. He's already shown he can play at the mid levels, and the upper levels will show if he's a future starter or bench piece with speed and defense.



For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout. Keep up with our countdown on Twitter with the hashtag, #LAATop100Prospects.

This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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