Every year since 2012, we’ve spent some time after the season looking back at those that wore the Birds on the Bat. Whether it’s a bit player that got into just a couple of games or someone that played almost every day, we’ll look at their stats, their positives, their negatives, and grade them based on what we would have expected from them. The stat line is from their time in St. Louis, though splits and other numbers may include time with other teams, if applicable. Think of this as like the players packing up their locker and then seeing Mike Shildt before they head off for the winter. Once again, our great header work comes to us from cardinalsgifs, who continues to be a master.
Player: Jedd Gyorko
Season stats: 125 G, 402 PA, 49 R, 92 H, 19 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR, 47 RBI, 2 SB, 44 BB, 77 K, .262/.346/.416, 108 OPS+, 2.0 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 4, Goat 6
Overall grade: B-
Positives: Hit .309 with five home runs in 112 plate appearances against left-handers….hit .299 and had a .854 OPS away from Busch Stadium….hit .282 in the second half of the season….had an excellent start to the season, hitting .364 with a 1.182 OPS in his first 12 games….hit .325 with three home runs during August….hit .296 as a third baseman….had a .769 OPS when he hit the first pitch….had a 1.097 OPS when he was ahead in the count….hit .311 with runners in scoring position….in 11 plate appearances with runners on second and third, went 6-for-7 with three sacrifice flies for a 2.208 OPS….hit .286 with two home runs in tie games….had a .983 OPS in high leverage situations….two of his home runs came in the eighth inning….had an .848 OPS in the ninth inning….hit .311 against finesse pitchers….didn’t torch the Padres as much as prior years but still managed a .304 average and two homers in seven games….put up an .836 OPS in night games.
Negatives: Went on the DL in late August and hit just .227 after his return before being shut down after the Cardinals were eliminated….ended the year in an 0-15 skid….hit just .159 in June….had a .697 OPS in the sixth spot in the lineup….hit .190 when the pitcher was ahead in the count….hit .241 with the bases empty….hit .237 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit .224 in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings….posted a .203 average against power pitchers….hit .158 against the Reds.
Overview: It was another solid year for a guy that sometimes gets overlooked by Cardinal fans. Gyorko dealt with a hamstring strain earlier in the year and a groin strain late but other than that was a great contributor to the team. He did see about 80 fewer plate appearances in the same amount of games as in 2017, but that in part was due to Jose Martinez playing some first base and Matt Carpenter covering third. Gyorko was a key part of the strong run in August and continued to provide plenty of bang for the buck, especially since those bucks are somewhat offset by Padres money.
Outlook: There’s quite a push for Josh Donaldson to be the third baseman for the Cardinals next year and the club has said they are looking for an upgrade at the corners. If that happens, it probably pushes Gyorko into the super-sub utility role that I believe has always been the desire of the club. It’s also possible, depending on moves, that Gyorko could be dealt and Yairo Munoz take over more of that kind of role. If the Cardinals start 2019 with Gyorko as the starting third baseman, it’s not necessarily the worst thing depending on what the rest of the lineup looks like. It likely will be a bit of a stressful offseason for Gyorko as he waits to hear what his job will be.