The San Diego Padres are trying to make a run at the World Series. With the additions of Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Wil Myers and James Shields there is a serious buzz in Southern California. However, the team’s biggest addition might be a player that wasn’t added during the offseason.
Jedd Gyorko was supposed to be the savior of the San Diego Padres. When he arrived in the MLB during the 2013 season the team wasn’t expected to be competitive, a situation which gave Gyorko a chance to get his feet wet, and develop at his own pace.
It was a promising start for Gyorko, as he had a very solid 2013 season. The Padres second baseman amassed 121 hits and produced 23 home runs. His impressive beginning was enough for the Padres to sign Gyorko to a five-year $35 million contract extension.
With a new deal in place, Gyorko was destined to lead a young Padres team for the 2014 season, however things didn’t go exactly as planned, as Gyorko was plagued by a string of injuries and bad play. He only made 400 plate appearances, which was 86 below his 2013 total. To make matters worse, Gyorko only hit .210, which was a full .39 points worse than his previous season.
The once-promising second baseman is now one of baseball’s biggest question marks going into the 2015 campaign, but this is not the same Padres team of years past. This year San Diego boasts one of the most intimidating lineups of recent memory, which should help Gyorko regain some of his 2013 form.
It’s likely the Padres will slot Gyorko in the five-hole which would position him behind players like Upton, Kemp and Myers, but ahead of talents such as Derrick Norris, Yonder Alonso and Will Middlebrooks. The opportunity for Gyorko to increase his RBI and run totals is entirely possible given the fresh and rejuvenated faces on the team.
There is still a lot of optimism when it comes to Gyorko. He had a fantastic 2012 season with the Padres AAA team putting up a .328/.380/.588 slash line. While his minor league numbers haven’t remained consistent at the Major League level, neither have his teammates.
The additions San Diego has made have set forth a winning culture. If there is a time for Gyorko to produce it’s now, because he has all the tools and talent to succeed. The only difference between his first two years is he now has a winning team to do it.