Gyorko selected by Padres
Former WVU star snubbed in first round, picked in second round
Published: Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 23:06
Disappointment morphed into excitement as former West Virginia shortstop Jedd Gyorko had to wait a day to discover his professional baseball fate.
Projected as a first or supplementary first-round draft pick, Gyorko did not hear his name called Monday night. Instead, he had to wait until the second round Tuesday afternoon, where the San Diego Padres nabbed the Morgantown native with the 59th pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.
"It's a really exciting moment," Gyorko said. "I really am living out the dream every little kid has of being a professional ballplayer."
Some national publications tabbed Gyorko as a shoo-in for the first round.
Nybaseballdigest.com believed the New York Yankees were high on him with the 32nd pick. Jonathon Mayo of MLB.com originally had him going No. 24 to the San Francisco Giants on Monday, but modified that projection the day of the draft and left Gyorko out of the first round.
"I was a little disappointed, but I understand it," Gyorko said. "It is a business they are running, and teams just have to get what works best for them. You just never really know what's going to happen."
Gyorko said nearly all 30 major league teams made contact with him sometime during his collegiate career. He was not totally surprised that the Padres were the ones to reel him in.
West Virginia has been
somewhat of a gateway for the San Diego organization. Last year, former second baseman Vince Belnome was selected by the Padres in the 28th round while former first baseman Joe Agreste was signed by the team as a free agent
"We've been sending text messages back and forth," Gyorko said. "They're good guys who want to see me succeed with them, and maybe we'll meet up sometime out there."
Gyorko is ecstatic to begin his career as a professional ballplayer, although he is most likely headed to a Rookie or Low-A league.
"I'm hoping to get the whole process started within the week," he said. "I've been sitting down with my adviser and we are seeing what is best."
Gyorko will leave WVU a year early as one of the most decorated players to don the Old Gold and Blue.
Once the Big East Rookie of the year, Gyorko is the only Mountaineer ballplayer to be named an all-American in more than one year. He is a two-time nominee for the Brooks Wallace award and has a chance to pick up the honor again this year.
He is the only Mountaineer to finish his career with a batting average above .400 (.404). He is also the career leader in doubles (73), extra base-hits (113) and is tied for the top spot in home runs (35).
WVU head coach Greg Van Zant has seen Gyorko blossom over his career and looks forward to great things in the near future.
"He may be the most talented player I have ever coached," Van Zant said. "It has been a pleasure to coach him these last three years."
Gyorko said Van Zant has been "real supportive and ready to see me succeed at the next level. He really helped me get to this point."
As Gyokro enters a life filled with newfound pressure and riches, he will always look back on his time as at West Virginia with fondness.
In fact, it's actually one of his biggest concerns.
"It will be (weird) when I look up in the stands and don't see any family or friends," he said. "It will be tough for them to make it to games wherever I am.
"And it will be tough on me, too."