clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Has Jedd Gyorko been playing too little, too much or just enough?

A simple explanation behind Gyorko's playing time.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Jedd Gyorko had a tough sophomore campaign last year. His batting average dropped 39 points down to .210, his on base percentage sunk by 21 to .280 and his slugging plummeted 111 points down to .333. But this year... oh wait this year it's about the same. His batting average and on base percentage are up a little compared to 2014, but his slugging is down. If you want to simplify the statistics and use OPS as an overall hitting measurement (good enough for these purposes and the rest of this discussion), he had a .745 OPS in 2013, .612 in 2014 and .613 in 2015. Yet, if you go on social media you will here people saying he's not playing enough. Why is that?

The reason is because those people think Gyorko has turned a corner. His OPS in April/March was .384. In May it was .796. So here we are at the start of June and people want to see more of the guy that seemed have found his stroke with the change of the calendar. But aren't the Padres also aware of this? Why when they decide who to start and who to sit do they repeatedly tell Gyorko to grab some pine?

The reason Gyorko's buttocks starts many games planted on the bench is because he is now in a platoon. Just like the RF platoon in years past of Will Venable and Chris Denorfia (or Venorfia, if you will), maestro Buddy Black is trying to optimize the offense he gets out of a position. Gyorko's OPS against left handed pitching is a magnificent .995. That's MVP caliber offense. Against right handed pitching it is demotion-worthy .437. Compare that to Cory Spangenberg's OPS versus RHP of .635. Nothing to write home about, but way better than Gyorko. Combine the two together and not only do you get a cool name like Gyorkenberg, Spangenko or SpangenGyork, but also better offensive production.

The platoon even helps explain why Gyorko's May numbers are so much better than April. The platoon started in May, while in April Gyorko had to flail against more RHP pitching. Remove those at bats against righties and his numbers get better. Voila! Oh, Buddy Black, that clever ol' devil.