Jobu is back with another installment of the Rookie Spotlight Series. This time, we’re headed to San Diego to check out Jedd Gyorko.
I’m still not sure who we’ll be following for the 2013 season, but that isn’t going to stop me from introducing you readers to new candidates. Today, we’ll take a look at a guy that is not only attempting to make the Padres for the first time, but also one who is attempting to learn a whole new position. Jedd Gyorko is, by trade, a third baseman. Unfortunately for him, the Padres are pretty set at third base (barring a trade) with 2012 breakout star Chase Headley. So, because it will make his path to the majors easier, Jedd’s learning to play second.
After a solid collegiate career at West Virginia University, Gyorko was drafted by the Padres in the second round of the 2010 draft. He spent 2010 making his way through A- and A ball, hitting .302/.377/.444. The next year, he made it from A+ ball to AA, and he mostly did it with his bat again, putting up a slash line of .333/.400/.552 with 47 doubles, 25 HR and 114 RBI. In 2012, he finally made the jump from AA to AAA, and had his best year yet. His slash line of .311/.373/.547 really made everyone stand up and take notice, as did his 30 homers and 100 RBI. It was in 2012 that the Padres started thinking about him as a possible answer at second base too.
If Headley hadn’t had his breakout second half in 2012 and finished hitting .286/.376/.498 with 31 homers (19 more than his career high) and 115 RBI (51 more than his previous high), we wouldn’t be talking about Gyorko having to switch positions. Headly would long have been traded off somewhere and Gyorko would be tattooed on the lineup card as the every day third baseman in 2013. There’s no doubt about it.
Personally, I think the Padres should sell high on Headley now. While everyone had always talked about him as a potential power bat, it took him until he was 28 to finally break out. I highly doubt the Padres plan to keep Headley with a long-term deal of any sort. For one, they never do that. Secondly, I think he’s a big candidate to take a step back this year. However, desperate teams will look at his breakout campaign, and the fact that he’s under team control until 2014, and possibly give the Padres a very nice return on their investment. If Headley does recess back to his previous statistical outputs, they will have missed a big opportunity to bring in some more young talent.
Anyway, I apologize. This post is supposed to be about Gyorko, right? From what I have been reading, Gyorko has done nothing this spring to suggest that he’s not ready to be an every day major leaguer. As of press time, he’d hit 3 home runs and driven in 9 runners in his 16 games. The Padres aren’t really worried about his bat though. They know the kid will hit, and hit hard. The biggest concern is his defense at second base. While Gyorko probably won’t to win the Gold Glove in 2013, but he’s been good enough this spring. There’s no reason for him not to get the job. His only serious competition is Logan Forsythe, a 25-year old middle infielder type who spent time at shortstop, second and third for the Padres last year. Forsythe is a nice player, but he’s not going to be an impact middle-of-the-order type bat, which is what the Padres need most.
Unlike our previous candidates, Jurickson Profar and Wil Myers, Gyorko is actually expected to win the job and be a major league regular on opening day, which makes him a more ideal candidate for us to follow for the entire season. If we end up picking him, hopefully he’ll hit the ground running and give us lots to write about.
UPDATE: I know it’s weird to have an update when the post just went live, but I couldn’t find a way to work this new information into the post I had written and scheduled already. Anyway, it has been said that Headley, who suffered a thumb injury this week, may miss 4-6 weeks. He’s going to try to come back sooner, but the injury pretty much guarantees that Gyorko should make this team… I would think.
Featured image courtesy of: Rich Pilling/Getty Images
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