The San Diego Padres selected Jedd Gyorko in the second round of the 2010 draft. That same year, the Friars failed to reach an agreement with their first round selection Karsten Whitson, making Gyorko the highest draft pick signed by the Padres. One assumes both a team’s brass and fans experience a sense of frustration when a first rounder gets away, but Gyorko has appeared to wash those feelings away with the incredible strides he has made in the minors and the anticipated major league impact he could make in the near future.
The West Virginia native stands at 5’ 10” tall, weighs in at about 195 pounds and is a natural right-hander. Both Baseball America and MLB agree that the Padres targeted the stocky Gyorko for his bat skills, since he was difficult to project defensively.
Gyorko figured to have a future home at third base, that is, until Chase Headley busted out in twenty-twelve. Knowing he was blocked at the hot corner, the Padres brass began giving him some reps at second base. Gyorko doesn’t display great range and may not be the quickest guy on the diamond, but his hands and arm strength seem to make him a good fit there, or back at third base, if/when the Padres’ send Headley packing.
Now, what was all that talk about his bat? Oh yes, the meat-and-potatoes for fantasy baseball owners. In each of the last two seasons, Gyorko mashed a minimum of 25 homers and knocked in at least 100 runs between three minor league levels. Two of the three stops were the California (A+) and Pacific Coast Leagues (AAA), notoriously beneficial for padding offensive statistics, but you can still color me impressed for a slugger entering his age 25 season.
Additionally, the righty possesses a fairly keen eye, striking out less than 20% of that time at each level played; and he takes his free passes, walking near or above 8% of the time at each stop as well. BA notes that these plate discipline skills could translate into a hitter that peaks at about a .300 batting average. And although he projects to get on base at a decent clip, we’ve already noted that Gyorko isn’t Billy Hamilton, so don’t expect many stolen bases.
But when will this guy be relevant for my fantasy baseball team? Entering Spring Training, the Padres’ indicated that Gyorko would be given every opportunity to earn the starting second base job for the start of the season. And he’s off to quite the start. Gyorko is triple slashing .400/.400/1.300 in the ultimate short sample (four games), with three homers and nine runs batted in.
Gyorko needs to be selected late in mixers with 12 or more teams, NL-Only, keeper and dynasty leagues. With the possibility to break camp with the Padres, Gyorko could be an incredible late-round value for a team not willing to splurge on the likes of Robinson Cano, Dustin Pedroia or the Ian Kinsler type second basemen. If and when he gets regular plate appearances, Gyorko could benefit your team in four of the five traditional categories. Don’t be afraid to reach a round or toss an extra buck or two to acquire his services. You won’t be disappointed.