Jedd Gyorko: Before the contract …

By now, you’re probably well aware of the $35 million contract extension the Padres have given to second baseman Jedd Gyorko. If not, here’s my story from Monday.

In case you don’t want to read it, I’ll save you the trouble: $35 million, as it turns out, can and will buy a lot of diapers (Gyorko’s wife is expecting twin boys).

If you’re a Padres fan, I’m sure you’ve followed Gyorko’s career with the team going back to his Minor League days when he terrorized pitching at several levels. The numbers are pretty stunning and as teams are trying to predict how Minor League numbers will translate to Major League success, I’m certain the Padres looked at Gyorko’s track record in the Minor Leagues as a predictor of sorts of what kind of Major League he can become.

Last season was certainly a good start.

But what about Gyorko, the amateur? Ever wonder what the scout who recommend Gyorko thought of him the first time he saw Gyorko at West Virginia University.

Me, too. So I asked Padres’ scout Andrew Salvo about Gyorko. I talked with Salvo in 2012 about Gyorko, trying to get a read on him as a player. Here are some of Salvo’s observations:

— “All I heard was that he could rake. I also heard he was a bad athlete, had a bad body, and couldn’t defend. I thought the complete opposite when I saw him that first weekend down. The hit tool was evident, he could swing it and had all the components of what you look for in a good hitter (bat speed, hand strength, balance, hand/eye, among others).

— “He’s a better athlete than what a lot of people give him credit for. Jedd was recruited to play some Division II basketball. He played shortstop all three years at a Big East program, too. Just because he doesn’t run fast doesn’t mean he’s not a good athlete. It’s not the ideal looking body, but he has strength in all the right places (hands, wrists, forearms, core, thighs).

— “He’s just a true grinder. Great makeup guy who’s super self motivated to prove all the doubters wrong. He was an easy one to go to bat for in the draft that year because he had that “it” factor about him to go with the tools.

—  “I was just stoked we had a chance to get him. With the way bats fly off the board in the draft I didn’t think we had a shot at him where we got him.”

Gyorko was taken with the 59th overall pick in the 2010 draft. That was an important pick for the Padres, especially after their first-round pick, Karsten Whitson, opted not to sign.

Anyway, just a few thoughts from the scout who saw Gyorko the most. It should be pointed out that Salvo was also the guy who recommended first-rounder Hunter Renfroe a year ago.

— Corey Brock





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