2014 Projection: What Can We Expect From Jedd Gyorko’s Sophomore Campaign?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

No one is going to question Jedd Gyorko’s ability to hit, but is he going to hit for the power he did in 2013? He certainly made a believer out of many:

486 At Bats
.249 Batting Average (121 Hits)
23 Home Runs
63 RBI
62 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.301 On Base Percentage
.444 Slugging Percentage
.287 BABIP

Playing half his games in Petco Park, many felt that he’d be more of a doubles hitter (he did have 26 of those). Hitting 24 HR at Triple-A in 2012 wasn’t enough to convince people… Then again, those numbers did come in the Pacific Coast League, so they were easy to ignore.

It’s not like Gyorko was swinging for the fences in 2013 (39.8% fly ball rate). Instead it was a solid HR/FB of 15.9% that brought in the power. It’s not an unreasonable number, and does give some hope that he can continue to hit home runs.

Petco Park also proved not to be a deterrent in 2013:

  • Home – 13 HR
  • Road – 10 HR

It’s a surprising split, but it just hammers home the point. While expecting Gyorko to become a 30+ HR hitter would be a mistake, would seeing him consistently in the 20-25 range be a real surprise at this point? At 25-years old the power is simply still developing, so it isn’t a stretch at all.

As for the average, which was supposed to be his strength, there was obvious bad luck at play. Considering a 22.5% line drive rate, his BABIP (.287) was far below what we would’ve expected.

He also saw his strikeouts rise more than we would’ve expected. After posting a 16.7% strikeout rate at Triple-A, the number rose to 23.4% in the Majors. In fact, from June on his best strikeout rate was 23.1% for any month. It’s clear opposing pitchers made an adjustment and Gyorko needs to counter.

However, consider Baseball America’s scouting report prior to the season:

“Most everybody agrees that Gyorko will hit for average in the big leagues, perhaps .300 in his best seasons, with his short righty stroke and plate discipline. Barrel awareness and the ability to hit the ball where he wants makes him especially dangerous as a situational hitter. He has solid power and ought to be good for 40 doubles in Petco Park’s spacious outfield.”

In other words, he should be able to fix the issue. A career .321 hitter in the minor leagues, there’s good reason to think the average will be closer to .290 than .250 in 2014.

You put it all together and get the following projection for 2014:

.280 (154-550), 20 HR, 75 RBI, 70 R, 4 SB, .323 BABIP, .342 OBP, .455 SLG

So we have a much better average to go along with some power (last season there were only three second baseman with at least 20 HR). That’s a lot to like. While he doesn’t provide the speed some others do at the spot, he’s well worth targeting as long as you can build your stolen bases elsewhere.

He’s not going to be a top option, but as a MI or if you miss the bigger names, he’s well worth it.

Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference, Baseball America

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