Jedd Gyorko Plays Shortstop Against Braves

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Throughout his career before being drafted, Jedd Gyorko had occupied the shortstop position. Upon being drafted, it was unknown where exactly he would fit. Coming up through the minors, Gyorko played mostly third base and has, since being promoted to The Show, manned down second base. On Monday against the Braves, for the first time in his professional career, Jedd Gyorko played shortstop. 

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Gyorko was moved over to second base in the eighth after a double switch put Clint Barmes in the game. For seven innings, Gyorko held down the most demanding position in the infield even making a good sliding stop and throw. No one could have had any reason to complain about his performance. But is Gyorko a full-time option at the position?

The Padres have had a miserable time finding a shortstop who can hit his own weight. Alexi Amarista has been consistently poor all year. Clint Barmes has been up and down. The shortstop situation has gotten so bad that Will Middlebrooks has actually started a game at the position. Now, Jedd Gyorko.

Gyorko is an average defensive second baseman. While he has an above average fielding percentage he has below average range (according to range factor). The two cancel each other out to net a player who neither helps nor hurts the Padres defensively. In Gyorko’s three years and 297 games at second base, his total zone total fielding runs above average is zero.

So is putting the epitome of a league average second baseman – who’s knock is less-than-stellar range – at shortstop a good idea? No. Obviously, Gyorko played well yesterday. He got to every ball anyone would expect a shortstop to get to. But over the course of the season, the Padres would be seriously sacrificing defense.

Pat Murphy should be applauded for taking the risk and putting Gyorko out at short. A frustrating thing about Bud Black was that he wasn’t adventurous enough. In a season where there really is nothing left to play for, the Pads should take some chances and see what they have. Put Cory Spangenberg at short. See if Gyorko is more comfortable at third. Maybe he’ll be a more consistent and productive hitter. And when September comes around, roll the dice on a few of the prospects.

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