Ozuna’s arrival bumps Gyorko down
The big over-achiever of the 2017 Cardinals, Jedd Gyorko has shown the peak of his hitting abilities, which made him more than just a serviceable player. However, Gyorko was a career .238 hitter with a .296 OBP for four seasons before 2017, which may make it unrealistic to expect the same kind of production over another 162 games.
That being said, one spot where Gyorko has done considerably better than normal over the course of his career is the seven hole. While he didn’t get much time there because of the way the personnel panned out over the course of a season, this year’s team should give him more opportunities in this low-pressure spot.
2017: .272/.341/.472, 20 home runs, 67 RBI’s in 481 PA’s
2017 as #7 hitter: .192/.364/.385, 1 home run, 5 RBI’s in 33 PA’s
Career as #7 hitter: .268/.335/.461, 16 home runs, 49 RBI’s in 367 PA’s
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Keeping Gyorko out of the eight spot is important because it protects him from intentional walks, allowing the potential power from his bat to have more time in the spotlight.
As mentioned before, if this power shines through, it will alleviate pressure on Yadi to have to run — there is no need to run fast if the ball is at or over the fence — while alleviating the pressure of wasting a good base runner on the low average Gyorko.
While his power production last season may make an argument for seeing Gyorko higher in the lineup, he needs to continue to sustain the production he had in 2017 in order to be considered, but the circumstances mentioned above and the lineup construction makes it difficult to argue anyone out of their spot in favor of Gyorko.
Overall, Gyorko’s skill set seems to best fit in the seventh spot. On this team, it just so happens that the seventh spot is made for him.