Gyorko Slugs Path Toward San Diego





Best Player: Jedd Gyorko hit .311/.371/.551 in Double-A and Triple-A and showed his versatility by playing in 46 games at second base. Third base is his best position but unless the Padres trade Chase Headley, who emerged as their best player this year, Gyorko will need a different position.

His bat should get him to the big leagues at some point next year, regardless of the organization. Gyorko, 24, hit .328/.380/.588 with 24 home runs and 83 RBIs in 369 at-bats with Triple-A Tucson, where the hitting conditions are excellent. A second-round selection out of West Virginia in 2010, he will devote his offseason to strength and conditioning.

"Other than that, he'll rest for the winter; it was a big year for him," farm director Randy Smith said.
 
Best Pitcher: Righthander Matthew Wisler impressed the Padres this year, his first full pro season, as someone who can someday earn a spot in the front of their rotation. The 19-year-old made 23 starts with low Class A Fort Wayne and went 5-4,  2.53. He averaged 8.9 strikeouts per nine innings and 2.2 walks.

"He has three pitches that he throws for strikes," Smith said. "Fastball runs in the mid-90s. He looks well advanced for his age. I'm just very impressed with everthing he does."
 
Keep An Eye On: Shortstop Jace Peterson missed two weeks after running into a pitcher while chasing a fly ball, leading to a concussion. He showed no ill effects upon his return, and the Padres see Peterson, 22, as their future shortstop and leadoff hitter in a few years. He hit .286/.378/.392 with 50 stolen bases for Fort Wayne.

The 58th overall pick out of McNeese State in 2011, Peterson played football in college and is learning to translate his athleticism on the baseball field, particularly when making throws.  

FATHER FIGURES

• First baseman Nathan Freiman fell one home run shy of leading Double-A San Antonio in each of the triple-crown categories. The 25-year-old, an eighth-round pick out of Duke in 2009, led the Missions with a .298 batting average and 105 RBIs, tops in the Texas League. His 24 home runs were second on the team to Cody Decker's 25.

• Lake Elsinore first baseman Tommy Medica, 24, finished fifth in the California League batting race—first in the non-High Desert Mavericks division. His .330/.406/.623 numbers came in just 93 games, and the former Santa Clara catcher added 37 doubles and 19 homers.