The San Diego Padres farm system is among the best in baseball and five Padre prospects were named to MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospects . Infielder Jedd Gyorko topped the list at number 50 after hitting .328/.380/.588 with 24 home runs and 83 RBIs at AAA Tucson last season.
Gyorko, 24, will be given every chance to leave spring training as the Padres second baseman this year as his original position of third base is currently blocked by Chase Headley so the Padres will give him a shot at second where Logan Forsythe is currently penciled in as starter with Alexi Amarista likely to get a look as well.
The Padres offense could use Gyorko’s bat. Right now the offense consists of Carlos Quentin, Headley, and, when he returns from a suspension for PEDs, catcher Yasmani Grandal. Cameron Maybin could be an asset if he ever lives up to the hype that surrounded him years ago as a minor leaguer, but right now it looks like what you see is what you get with Maybin.
Last season, only two Padres reached double digits in home runs, Headley with 31 and Quentin with 16. The right field platoon of Will Venable and Chris Denorfia did manage 17 homers, however. Adding Gyorko to the Padres lineup would be an instant boost. His combination of power and his ability to use the whole field should help Headley and Quentin shoulder some of the load.
There is no reason to think Gyorko can’t handle the Major Leagues beginning this year. Gyorko hit 24 home runs last season, but I don’t believe that power will translate to the Majors. I expect him to be a gap power hitter, drilling doubles into the gaps and spraying line drives all over the field. The Pacific Coast League has a tendency to exaggerate offensive output. Still, Gyorko should be a valuable member of the Padres for several years moving forward. The 2013 season will be the start of the youth movement in San Diego beginning with Gyorko and Grandal on offense and later to be joined by Casey Kelly and Max Fried in the rotation.