Jedd Gyorko was the “Next Man Up” for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016.
Injuries and a need for depth were the primary motivators behind the acquisition of Jedd Gyorko. It is hard to imagine the trade unfolding better for the St. Louis Cardinals than it did in 2016, as the concerns the team had following the 2015 season reared their heads early and often.
Right off the bat, Jhonny Peralta suffered a torn ligament in his thumb early in Spring Training. Tommy Pham then pulled an oblique on opening day, which sent Matt Holliday back to left field instead of first base. Additionally, Kolten Wong would struggle to start the season before eventually being sent to AAA.
Of course, the injuries were just starting to pile up. On July 6th, Matt Carpenter suffered an oblique injury that would sideline him for a month. On July 31st, Aledmys Diaz fractured his right thumb. Less than two weeks later, Matt Holliday fell victim to a similar injury, which would force Brandon Moss into everyday duties in left field.
In a season which featured a revolving door of injuries, Gyorko was constantly the “next man up.”
- Once Peralta went down, the Cardinals relied on Gyorko for depth behind Aledmys Diaz.
- As Wong struggled, Gyorko plugged in comfortably at second.
- After Carpenter was hurt, he played a strong third.
- When Diaz went down, he was an option at short.
- Following Moss’ move to left following Holliday’s injury, Gyorko’s presence at third allowed Carpenter to switch to first full-time (where he was backed up by none other than Gyorko).
Jedd Gyorko helped to cover for these injuries and keep the Cardinals in contention for a playoff spot throughout the season. Gyorko would play over 200 innings at second base, third base, and shortstop while also playing limited innings at first base. He rated as above-average in his limited time at three of these four positions, with the only exception being at shortstop.
Gyorko proved to be versatile offensively as well. Over the course of the season, Gyorko made appearances at every slot in the batting order and was a valuable bat off the bench as a pinch hitter.
Overall, Jedd Gyorko proved to be one of the St. Louis Cardinals’ better hitters over the season. His slash line of .243/.306/.495 was good for a career-best 111 wRC+ over 438 plate appearances. He also led the 2016 power surge in St. Louis, blasting a team-best 30 home runs.
Jedd Gyorko’s 2016 season proved how valuable a piece he could be as an everyday utility infielder. He accumulated 2.3 fWAR on the season, the best since his rookie year and fifth among Cardinals position players in 2016. His success over his first campaign in St. Louis set a high standard that he will attempt to follow-up in 2017.