Padres Report Cards: Jedd Gyorko

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After tackling report cards for Norris, Hedges, and Alonso, it’s time to move onto second base. Jedd Gyorko entered 2015 having come off of a terrible sophomore year that followed a promising rookie campaign. One side wanted to stick with him; the other side had given up. Both sides received plenty of ammunition during the 2015 season. 

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On June 8, in Atlanta, Gyorko took one at bat and struck out. His slashline stood at .210/.282/.311/.593 – even worse than his 2014 season. Hope for him was dwindling. His power – the quality that was going to separate him from other second baseman – was yet to be seen. By June 8, through 46 games, Gyorko had only two home runs. His average was still at the bottom of the barrel and was not compensated for by a slight uptick in walks.

Gyorko was sent down to the minors to work on mechanical issues with his swing. It seems that he had tried to avoid a possible sophomore slump by changing his mechanics before or during the 2014 season. Since the change, the once top prospect was anemic at the plate.

Before returning on June 30, Gyorko went back to his previous stance and mechanics. From there, he rebounded back to his 2013 form. From then on (82 games), Gyorko posted a solid .262/.303/.430/.733 batting line and hit 14 home runs. He looked more confident and loose.

On the year, Gyorko added zero runs better than the average players at his position via base running, according to BaseballProjection.com. So, he’s as average as one can get there despite having no steals.

On defense, there are two stories: second base and shortstop. BaseballProjection.com and Baseball Info Solutions have Gyorko at 4 and -2 runs above average in the field. His 4.38 range factor per 9 innings (i.e. how many balls he gets to) was lower than the league average of 4.78. That’s a bit of wide margin though not catastrophic given that his .994 fielding percentage is higher than the .986 league average. What the numbers say is that Gyorko has below average range that is compensated for and neutralized by the fact that he makes more of the plays he gets to than does the average second baseman. He’s average. There.

Then there’s Gyorko at shortstop. In 29 games, he committed only one error. Pretty great. But dive into the defensive metrics and the conclusion is that Gyorko needs to stay away from short if the Padres actually want to win games in 2016. His 3.87 range factor at short is well below the 4.38 league average. Gyorko is estimated to have cost the Padres 5 and 4 runs according to BaseballProjection.com and Baseball Info Solutions respectively. In a full season, the estimates are over -20 each. No team can give up that many runs and win especially at shortstop.

Looking to 2016, there should be quite a bit of hope. In each of the three months following his return to the majors, Gyorko put up decent or better offensive numbers. He will be 27 for almost all of next season and he appears to be figuring out the big leagues. All indications point to him being serviceable at second for the time being. The Padres could run him out and not feel he is a weakness defensively. But shortstop is a different story. In all likelihood, if Gyorko’s bat keeps him in the show, he’ll have to eventually move back to third base.

His lefty/righty splits are pretty stark. So at the very least, he should be in the lineup against lefties. Hopefully the 2016 Padre manager will go with the hot bat when deciding which two to play between Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, and Jedd Gyorko.

Durability: A

On-Base: C-

Power: C+

Running: C

Defense at 2B: C+

Defense at SS: F

Total Offense: C-

Before Demotion to AAA: F

After Return from AAA: C+

2015 Season: C-

Hope for 2016: B

Next: Bud Black to Interview with Nationals

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