Jedd Gyorko, the San Diego Padres top position-playing prospect, is poised, if not expected to have a break out year for the club in 2013.
Gyorko, 23, was drafted in the second round, with the 59th overall pick, out of West Virginia University in the 2010 MLB draft. Following the signing of his contract with the Padres, Gyorko was assigned to play for the Eugene Emeralds in Eugene, Oregon.
During his brief 26 game stint playing for the Ems, Gyorko played at an incredibly high level, batting .330 with five home runs, 18 RBIs and 35 hits overall. "He was certainly a highly touted prospect when he came through Eugene, but he has really surpassed expectations as to how fast he is battling for a starting spot with the big club," said Emeralds announcer Matt Dompe.
After his departure from Eugene, Gyorko tore through the Padres farm system and ended his 2012 season in AAA batting .328 with 24 homeruns, 83 RBIs and a whole new level of expectations for his future.
While enrolled at West Virginia University, Gyorko played shortstop for the Mountaineers, however, the Padres drafted him to play third base in the majors. That being said, this year at spring training he has been taking all of his reps at second base and is believed by many to be slated to be the opening day second baseman for the squad.
While Gyorko has dazzled many, his game is definitely not without criticism. Making the switch fulltime from third to second base is incredibly challenging, especially at the professional level and Gyorko is expected to have some growing pains.
His defensive range has often been categorized as "average" but the natural ability he possesses with his hands give scouts the hope that he has the skillset to be a serviceable everyday second baseman.
While the Padres have given every indication that they plan on having Gyorko starting at second base against the Mets come opening day on April 1st, his role may now be expanded since starting third baseman Chase Headly has gone down with an apparent finger injury.
Regardless of Headley's status though, 2013 should be a year to remember for Jedd Gyorko, and his success at the plate and on the right side of the infield would be beneficial for the Padres hopes this season.