It’s tourney time, and with 48 players still in Big League camp there was bound to be some rooting interest in the Padres clubhouse. Of the players on the Padres 40-man roster and remaining Spring Training invitees, there are eight players who attended a school that made it to the 2012 NCAA Tournament: Cory Luebke (Ohio State), Clayton Richard (Michigan), Huston Street (Texas), John Baker (Cal), Brad Davis and Nick Vincent (Long Beach State), Alex Hinshaw (SDSU) and Jedd Gyorko (West Virginia). In addition, Bud Black will join Alex Hinshaw in pulling for the Aztecs tomorrow morning vs. NC State.
Baker’s Cal Bears were eliminated last night in the tournament’s “First Four” round vs. USF. Each of the other six teams earned spots in the tournament’s round of 64. While none of the players will face each other in the first round, there is the possibility of a West Virginia (Gyorko)/Ohio State (Luebke) matchup in the second round.
Six of the seven teams are slotted on the right side of the bracket, leaving Davis and Vincent (Long Beach State) an uphill battle to face one of their Padres teammates.
Continuing our Future Friar series, today we take a look at one of the Padres top hitting prospects. In just his second year of professional baseball, he is clubbing his way through the minor league system. Meet…Jedd Gyorko.
Gyorko (pronounced JERK-oh), was born in September 23, 1988 (age 22) in Morgantown, West Virginia. He graduated from University High School before attending West Virginia University, where he majored in business management.
The Padres signed Gyorko as a second round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and he has been terrorizing opposing pitchers ever since. The third baseman hit .302 in his first professional season, splitting his time between Short-A Eugene (26 games) and Single-A Fort Wayne (42 games). He knocked 17 doubles and seven home runs while driving in 41 and scoring 35 runs.
His stellar debut proved to be just the start as he has improved upon those numbers in 2011. In 119 games this year between High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, Gyorko has hit .333 with a .403 OBP and .559 SLG. The slugger has tallied 40 doubles, two triples and 22 home runs and has already driven in 97 with 102 runs scored.
He began the year at Lake Elsinore, where he hit safely in 69 of 81 games before earning a promotion to San Antonio. With the Storm, he tallied 38 multi-hit games, including 25 two-hit games, nine three-hit games, three four-hit games and one five-hit performance. In the middle of an 11-game hitting streak from June 6-17, Gyorko tallied nine consecutive multi-hit games, hitting .558 over the nine-game stretch.
“Jedd has great hands and feet with a knack for putting the barrel on the ball,” says Padres Vice President of Player Development Randy Smith. ” He is a good defender but it often gets overshadowed because of his bat.”
In 80 games at third base this season, Gyorko has posted a .954 fielding percentage, committing just 11 errors in 238 chances. He has split his time between the hot corner and designated hitter, appearing in 80 games at third.
His performance at Lake Elsinore this year landed him on the California League All-Star team. He led the Cal League to a 6-1 win over the Carolina League and was named the game’s MVP. In their recent Tools Survey, Baseball America rated Gyorko as the California League’s best batting prospect.
Lake Elsinore Storm infielder Jedd Gyorko has been named the California League’s Offensive Player of the Week for the week ending May 22. Over that stretch, he hit .413 (12-for-29) with a .469 OBP and .897 SLG. Gyorko had three doubles, one triple, three home runs, nine RBI, nine runs scored and four stolen bases in the week.
In other news from the Padres farm system, the club today called up outfielder Blake Tekotte from Double-A San Antonio. Tekotte was hitting .291 (43-for-148) with the Missions, posting a .410 OBP and .486 SLG. He was originally signed by the Padres as a third-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player draft out of the University of Miami.