Jagielo Surging

TRENTON, NJ - At this point in the season it's obvious that Trenton slugger Eric Jagielo is having one heck of a season. As strong a start to the season as he's had, however, the scary part is he seems to only be getting better as the season wears on as evidenced by his .318 average in the month of May so far.

Heading into the opening game of the series against the Bowie Baysox last Tuesday, Eric Jagielo, who had raised his average to .291 to accompany his seven home runs and 25 RBI at the time, was a late scratch due to abnormally high sugar levels, according to manager Al Pedrique.

“The reason he was removed from the lineup was because his sugar level was up and down,” Pedrique said. “It got high over the limit with the situation that he has. In order to be safe, we decided to take him out of the game."

After receiving clearance to play in the following game, Jagielo was hitless in two at-bats, but walked twice. Since that game, he has strung together a five-game hit streak, collecting nine hits in just 23 at-bats and lifting his batting average up to .303, and has homered in each of his past two games.

With just 17 walks to 34 strikeouts in 2015, the easiest knock on Jagielo is his seemingly over-aggressive approach; however, hitting coach P.J. Pilittere is certain this approach will continue to make Jagielo successful.

"He’s going to get his fair share of walks, but he’s not going to be a guy that walks a ton," Pilittere said. "It’s not alarming to me. He’s an impact bat in the middle of the lineup and he’s a guy we want to drive the ball. His on-base [percentage] and the slug are in good spots right now, so if he can continue this clip for a full season, that’d be a heck of a season."

Jagielo is back to putting together an impressive campaign to follow up a season where he smacked 18 home runs. Jagielo credits his team to helping him put together a breakout Double-A season.

"A lot of it has to do with the guys that are hitting in front or behind me," Jagielo said. "They’re making it a little bit easier — they’re getting on base, they’re giving me good situations to hit in, and then with some good hitters behind you, there’s not too much pressure.

"If you don’t have the result you want, you know that the guy behind you can pick you up, so that thought process makes it a little bit easier to play with every day."

Despite his numbers at the plate, Jagielo’s glove leaves much to be desired with a fielding percentage of .837 and eight errors at third base. Of course, his bat is going to keep him in the lineup regardless of his play in the field, but Pedrique believes the glove is the primary reason Jagielo should not be promoted to Triple-A just yet.

"I don’t think that right now [moving him up to Triple-A would be the right move to make] because he still needs to work on his defense,” Pedrique said. "Defensively, the foot work is so much better — he’s moving quicker, he’s reacting better, he’s reading hops much better, so he’s put himself in good position to come up with the ball clean and make good throws.

"Our infield coordinator Carlos Mendoza has been working with him on his throwing. We’re trying to make sure he builds up strength, so when he makes throws on the backhand he’ll have something behind it."

After Jagielo played in just 92 games last season because of an oblique injury, Jagielo hopes he’ll have an injury-free 2015, so that he’ll be able to build on his advancements.

"With the injury [last season], it was a learning experience," Jagielo said. "It taught me how to stay healthy because you can see how quickly a season can go from 140 games to 90 games. You start the season and you start getting into a little bit of a rhythm and then you’re out for six weeks and you have to try to pick things up again."

With his sights set on an eventual promotion, Jagielo will continue to smooth out his defense, while continuing his outstanding offensive season.

"I think there’s huge improvements [to be made] still," he said. "I think every day you just have to come to the park focused, whether it’s working with skip, or Mendy [Carlos Mendoza], Just taking that and building off of it, not taking a day off. Just trying to be the best that I can be over there.”

As to whether or not Jagielo’s sugar levels will prevent him from achieving those goals, Pedrique doesn’t think it’ll be a serious issue moving forward.

“That’s something he’s been taking care of,” Pedrique said. “For some reason, the sugar level was a little high [that time], and he took care of it.”

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