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Padres Prospect Jedd Gyorko Opens Spring with Grand Slam

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Jedd Gyorko
Jedd Gyorko
USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres prospect Jedd Gyorko got 2013 off to a good start with a grand slam in yesterday's Cactus League opener against the Seattle Mariners. Gyorko is one of my favorite prospects for '13. Here's my book comment and additional thoughts.

Jedd Gyorko, 2B-3B, San Diego Padres
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 5-10 WT: 195 DOB: September 23, 1988

2011: Grade B-; 2012: Grade B+

Jedd Gyorko has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. He has a short, clean swing that produces power to all fields, and he's had no problems adapting to every level of pitching to which he has been exposed. Playing in the Pacific Coast League probably overstates his home run power, especially taking that forward to Petco, but he seems a safe bet to hit for average with a good OBP, plenty of doubles and a respectable number of home runs, say 15-20 in a neutral park. The hard part is finding him a position. His best position is third base, where he features good-enough range and a solid arm, but he's blocked there by Chase Headley.

The Padres gave Gyorko playing time at second base in Triple-A. He garnered pedestrian reviews, with scouts complaining that he doesn't look like he belongs there and that his range was substandard. Interestingly enough, his actual defensive statistics were quite good, with a .988 fielding percentage and a fine 5.38 range factor in 47 games. Caveat: simple range factor stats can be distorted or misleading, especially in such a small sample. I wouldn't assume the scouts are wrong, but I wouldn't assume they are right either: let's keep an open mind about his glove. In any event, Gyorko can hit, and if the Padres can live with his defense at second base, he'll have a job very soon. Grade B+.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: Gyorko's bat made him a second round pick (West Virginia , 2010) out of college and I don't think anyone doubts that he'll hit. It all comes down to his defense.

As I mentioned above, Gyorko's defensive stats in the minors last year were very good. Of course, defensive stats in the minors don't tell the whole story, but when I saw him in person he looked decent enough at second base. He won't win a Gold Glove with his range, but he's reliable in terms of avoiding errors and looked fundamentally sound, playing intelligently. If he hits as expected, I don't think his glove will hold him back.