Baseball season is quickly approaching and as the San Diego Padres prepare for the 2015-16 with a revamped lineup, they’ll be counting on a player that they didn’t need to make a move for. Third-year second baseman Jedd Gyorko will once again play a pivotal role in the Padres plans for this season and the future after getting a 5-year, $35 million deal last April.
Gyorko didn’t have the sophomore season that he and the Padres expected. An injury derailed a phenomenal rookie season that saw him set the club rookie record for home runs for a second baseman with 23. In 2014, the West Virginia infielder hit .210 with just 10 home runs with 51 RBIs.
That, though, is a thing of the past as both Gyorko and the Padres are moving forward.
“We saw in 2013 what Jedd can be, and I think there’s more to Jedd based on 2013,” Padres manager Bud Black told the team’s official site. “I think last year there were a lot of factors that went into his season that he expected or adjusted to, but that is something he’s hopefully learned from. It’s a tough game. You’ve got to work and stay on top of it. In that regard, I think he learned a lot.”
The Padres added outfielders Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Will Meyers along with catcher Derrick Norris and infielder Will Middlebrooks this offseason in hopes of bolstering a lineup that hit a collective league-low .226 a year ago. Across the board, San Diego had one of the worst offenses in 2014.
Durring that 2014 season, Gyorko admitted to putting pressure on himself to be the big bat that the struggling Padres needed.
“”We were struggling as a team. And I think all of us, not just myself, felt like we needed to come up with that big hit to get us going,” Gyorko told the website. “It’s hard to hit when you put that kind of pressure on yourself.”
With the recent additions to the lineup, the slugging second baseman is surrounded by bats and doesn’t have to shoulder the load as the most productive bat in the lineup.
That simple fact has led Black to have the up-most faith in Gyorko heading into the 2015 season.
“”He’s much more like 2013 than he was 2014,” Black said. “… I would place my bets on Jedd Gyorko.”