Ever since Jedd Gyorko was sent down on June 10th, a lot has changed. The most notable change has been one in the managerial position, where everyone is aware that AAA manager Pat Murphy replaced Bud Black as manager.
At the time, there were probably two reasons that Jedd Gyorko was sent down. The first was that he simply wasn’t producing. Bud Black said that “the league made an adjustment to Jedd and he didn’t adjust back fast enough.”
He also said that, while Gyorko was in perhaps the best shape of his career, he wasn’t necessarily in the best “baseball” shape. Take that as you will. The move was kind of strange, considering he hit .279/.353/.443 in the month of May, but his season totals for the first two months were pretty bad, spotting a .210/.282/.311 line. Most frustrating of all the statistics, he had a pitiful .157/.205/.217 line against right handed pitching.
This leads to the second reason he was sent down; he basically forced the hand of all the coaches to place Cory Spangenberg in the lineup when they were facing a right handed starter. Spangenberg’s speed that has changed a couple of games this year also appealed to coaches who were looking for offense when the San Diego Padres were struggling. It’s been roughly 2 1/2 weeks since Jedd Gyorko was sent down….
When is it time to call him back up to the big league club? Jedd Gyorko started slowly in AAA, but has heated up big time as of late. He has hit 3 home runs in his last five games and is spotting a .304/.391/.536 line in 56 minor league at bats. His OPS is an impressive .926 as well. Not only are those stats encouraging, but also are his splits against right handed pitching. He is totally crushing it to a .355/.459/.645 line and a 1.105 OPS. Granted, the PCL is a major hitter friendly league, however it definitely appears like Gyorko is gaining confidence and is forcing the hand of AJ Preller to soon give him another look at the big league level.
In an interview with Pat Murphy by Dennis Lin from the Union Tribune, Murphy gave no indication as to when Gyorko would be back. However, he did say that he was encouraged with his progress over the last two weeks, not only statistically, but mentally and technically as well. Murphy also indicated that he believed the struggles in the big leagues were much more mental than physical, which makes a lot of sense. The real question is, how much longer are the Padres going to wait? At the moment, Cory Spangenberg seems like a fan and coaching favorite, especially after his speed pretty much won a game on Friday against the Diamondbacks. However, he is still an incredibly streaky player who will have his troubles time and time again. Yangervis Solarte, who has been starting a majority of games against left handed starters, is 9 for 51 (.176) this month and is only hitting .188 against left handers this season. I would expect that average to get a bit better as the season goes on, considering his .200 BABIP.
It’s an interesting decision that the Padres have in front of them if they want to try and get Gyorko consistent MLB at bats, because it just isn’t going to happen at the moment. If called up, their 5 year, $35 million dollar man, barring a injury or trade, will most likely be stuck in a platoon role with Spangenberg for the rest of the season. I’d expect it to be at least a few weeks until the Gyork store re-opens in San Diego. He’s clearly still working on some things in AAA and the progress appears to be very positive right now. If the progress continues and the average keeps rising, he’s definitely only a few weeks away from another call up.
Let’s hope that his progress continues and he’s back raking for the Padres very soon!