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.
If we’re talking about 2019, we’ve got to highlight the brand that made the most impact this season: Primos and their partnership with Jose Martinez. Throughout the span of these interviews (today through Dec. 5) you can get 10% off your order of that sweet, sweet Cafecito coffee (well, I guess you probably have to doctor it to make it sweet) or anything else at their site. My wife is a coffee snob and we’ve bought multiple bags of the medium roast. It’s a great stocking stuff or Christmas gift as well, especially when you expand your order to pick up the Jose Martinez coffee mug. So use code C70SAVE10 at checkout and show your support of their ties to the Cardinal fanbase!
Player: Jedd Gyorko
Season stats: 38 G, 62 PA, 5 R, 11 H, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 2 SB, 6 BB, 14 K, .196/.274/.304, 52 OPS+, 0.0 bWAR
Statcast: 4.4% barrel %, 85.8 exit velocity, 32.4% hard hit %, .267 xwOBA
Hero/Goat: Hero 1
Overall grade: C
Positives: Hit a tiebreaking, pinch-hit three-run homer in the eighth inning against the Braves back in May….had a .576 OPS against right-handers….hit .267 with an .800 OPS in May….hit .273 when he played first….had a 1.025 OPS in 10 plate appearances batting sixth….hit .258 and both of his home runs came when there was one out in an inning….hit .261 with runners in scoring position….slashed .333/.417/.619 in late and close situations….had an .856 OPS in high leverage appearances….hit .353 with a 1.064 OPS against power pitchers.
Negatives: Another injury-plagued season for Gyorko, who missed from June 7 to August 18….went 0-2 in his last game as a Cardinal, dropping his average below .200….hit .135 against lefties….hit .154 on the road and .139 in the second half….hit .100 in April….hit .161 as a pinch hitter….had a .143 average when he led off an inning….had a .268 OPS with two outs….hit .154 with two outs and runners in scoring position….hit .116 and didn’t walk in low leverage situations….hit .094 in the middle innings….hit .151 against relievers….was 0-17 in interleague play.
Overview: It was a fairly ignominious end to the Jedd Gyorko era. Unable to stay healthy, seeing his utility slot being usurped by Tommy Edman, it’s not surprising that he was open to being dealt at the trading deadline. The Cardinals, to their credit, sent him to a place where he was basically guaranteed to make the playoffs. The fact that the Cards wound up going deeper than the Dodgers in October was not exactly what anyone would have guessed at the time. It’s hard to know if Gyorko was struggling because of injury or ineffectiveness but there was no real place for him in St. Louis and besides, when you have the chance to take on a guy like Tony Cingrani, a guy out for the year and a free agent at the end of it, how do you turn that down?
Overall, though, the Gyorko time in St. Louis should probably be remembered positively. He dealt with injuries a lot, but we’ll always remember 2016 when he homered at every infield position and posted 30 big flies. We’ll remember when they said he’d be a utility guy but then he always seemed to wind up basically being a starter. We’ll remember the slumps in September. Overall, though, he was a solid player for the Cardinals who helped them more than he hurt them, and over four years that’s a good thing to have.
Outlook: The Dodgers went with the buyout instead of exercising his option for 2020, so Gyorko heads to the free agent market with a tough year on his resume but some solid ones in the recent past. It wouldn’t be surprising to see a contender get him for bench depth or a second-division team take a flyer on him as a starter. Normally I’d say he’d get a major league contract but the market has been pretty iffy and Gyorko could get stuck with a bad team wanting to use prospects and a good team not wanting to pay much for him if he’s going to be a sub. Could be an interesting winter for Gyorko and here’s hoping he finds something good.