Jedd Gyorko seems to be the forgotten rookie from the 2013 season. He was over shadowed by Jose Fernandez, who won the Rookie of the Year trophy. He was dominant for an awful Miami Marlins team. Yasiel Puig became a phenom in LA and put former All-Stars on the bench because he could not be out of the lineup. Even Shelby Miller in St. Louis was a more popular rookie (that is until Michael Wacha came in and took all that popularity away). Point is, the NL was stacked with rookie talent so Gyorko’s season seemed to go unnoticed.
He is playing for a San Diego Padres team that has not done much over the past couple of years. He is in a decent infield that also includes Chase Headley and Everth Cabrera.
In his first season, he blasted 23 home runs and 63 RBIs in a ballpark that is extremely hard to hit for power. The 25-year-old slugger has locked in the second base position for years to come.
Gyorko comes from Morgantown, WV. which is more well known for burning couches and the Mountaineers than for developing young baseball players. He went to his home town West Virginia University after making All-State three times in high school. He could have gone to either Clemson or St. John’s on scholarship, but decided to stay close to home.
He started off playing second base his freshman year to accommodate a senior, but moved over after the position came open. He started off his college career with a 21-game hitting streak. He got a hit in half of his at bats during this streak. He ended up winning the Big East’s freshman (or rookie) of the year award.
He attempted to play for the U.S. National team while at WVU, but he did not make the final cut. He ended up leaving after his junior season, now the record holder of most WVU baseball records, to live his dream of playing professional baseball.
He was looked at as a first or second round prospect, and was taken 59th overall by the Padres in 2010. It did not take long for him to run through the ranks of the Padres organization. Gyorko was promoted at least once in every year he was in the organization until last year where he was in the majors all season.
He came into spring training last season trying to vie for the open second base position. Gyorko understood that his lack of range would cause him to be a below average short stop, so he moved over once again. Thanks to an array of injuries, he made the opening day roster to play second and third base.
You could tell he was pressing at times last season. Expect Gyorko’s average to sky rocket this season. His power numbers may fall off, but he will be on base a lot more. A second baseman with this kind of power isn’t the norm since the steroid era ended. Gyorko could end up being a real piece for the Padres for years to come.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NFL, MLB and NBA content. You can follow him on Twitter here.