Padres Prospect Interview: Jedd Gyorko

Eugene, OR: Jedd Gyorko, 21, was selected in the second-round of the 2010 draft by the San Diego Padres out of West Virginia University. He was a second team Baseball America All-American in his junior year, hitting .381/.479/.750 in addition to being one of the stars of the Cape Cod League last summer.

He finished his three year career as the Mountaineers all-time leader in batting average, .404, extra-base hits, and tied for career home runs with 35.

The problem is no one is really sure what position he play, but most are fairly sure that Gyorko at 5-foot-10, 205-pounds, although sure-handed with a career .973 fielding percentage, does not have the range to stay at shortstop.

He is a better athlete than many give him credit for, making first team all-state in basketball at University High School in Morgantown, West Virginia.

He opened the year in the Northwest League at third base and again, showed he could hit with a .330/.383/.528 line before being promoted to Fort Wayne. Also he only made four errors in 26 games at third.

You had a monster year in the Cape Cod League last summer. How come you did not experience the same problems as many other college players do when switching to wood from aluminum?

Jedd Gyorko: The thing that I attribute it too mostly was that I kept my swing the same, tried to stay short and quick to the ball. If you can do that and get the barrel of the bat on the ball, you are going to be ok.

Its such a small surface to hit on a wooden bat compared to aluminum. Does that just come from solid hand-eye coordination?

Jedd Gyorko: I think so and also excellent eye sight. Combined with the fact that I have pretty quick hands and I think that really helps.

In college you played shortstop and there was much discussion about where they were going to put you. In the draft you were announced as a second baseman but you have played third since you got here. Was there much discussion with you on where you would play?

Jedd Gyorko: Not until I got here. As soon as I arrived, they told me I would be at third and I was more than welcome to make the change.

If you are like most guys I know you have played short your whole life. That is a big adjustment.

Jedd Gyorko: Yeah, it is. Third is more of a reaction position where you have to trust your hands and be confident in your footwork. I've been working pretty hard out here since I got here and so far its been pretty good.

So you seem to be the type of guy that doesn't really care where you play. Just put me on the field and I will figure it out.

Jedd Gyorko: [laughing] Yeah, that is kind of true. I love the game, it's such a pure game and that is what I want to do.

You signed pretty quick, not much of a holdout.

Jedd Gyorko: I always said that from the start. I'm not going to be one of these guys that holds out for the extra dollar, I want to get out there and help out the organization and play.

So you didn't want to have the long holdout and come back and try to play after sitting out for a few months?

Jedd Gyorko: Exactly. It messed with me and I only sat out a few weeks. I can't imagine sitting out all summer and not seeing live pitching. I think those guys are really falling behind.

Can you tell us a little about where you went to high school and why you chose to go to West Virginia?

Jedd Gyorko: I went to high school in Morgantown and getting to play by family and friends where they could come see me play was a huge factor.

Were you drafted out of high school?

Jedd Gyorko: No.

So it was either got to college or not play anymore?

Jedd Gyorko: Yeah, but I was also pretty set up in my mind that I wanted to go to school and not to many scouts came out to Morgantown, West Virginia to watch high school ball.

It's strange because for someone that wasn't drafted you ended up going pretty high three years later. What caused you to improve so much?

Jedd Gyorko: Its hard work. If you put in the time you will see the benefits, which is what I attribute any success that I have.

True, but a lot of people work hard but don't have the success you do. For example, is it more important for you to take less swings, as long as they are all quality swings?

Jedd Gyorko: Efficiency is more important than quantity, you always want to be aware of what you are doing.

How do you think you will adjust to the pro game which is everyday compared to college?

Jedd Gyorko: I love it. Baseball has always been such a big part of my life. Now I don't have to worry about going to class and a whole bunch of other things, just the game.

Coming out here you want to put up good numbers and help the team win. What is your biggest goal?

Jedd Gyorko: Get used to the wooden bat and try to nail down third base as a position.

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