Jared Goedert can see the writing on the wall.
After spending the past six seasons in the Indians’ farm system primarily as a third baseman, the 26-year-old Goedert transitioned to the outfield this past spring training. The move seemed to be a logical one.
With Jack Hannahan entrenched as the Indians everyday third baseman and Lonnie Chisenhall pegged as the team’s third baseman of the future, the move allowed Goedert to improve his versatility and potentially his prospect standing with the Indians. It’s also a move that Goedert relished.
“(I’m) extremely open to it. I haven’t played out there a lot, but I feel comfortable enough to play out there,” said Goedert, who played a combined five minor league games in the outfield prior to the 2012 season. “I know that it will not only be beneficial to whatever team I’m playing for, but for me as well hopefully. I welcome it.”
So far, the transition has been seamless. The No. 60 ranked Indians prospect by Indians Prospect Insider has played left field in 20 games and right field in 5 games at Class AA Akron while committing no errors. Also, because of his previous experience, Goedert is comfortable playing a number of different positions.
“Just because I have played more third base than anything else, [I’m probably most comfortable there], but honestly, I feel almost equally as comfortable at first, but like I said I feel comfortable enough to be in the outfield for game action,” said Goedert, who has played third base in five games and first base in one game this season.
Perhaps even more impressive than Goedert’s versatility is the way his bat has performed in the early going of the 2012 season. The former Kansas State Wildcat has compiled a .383/.468/592. line with a 1.060 OPS in 34 games at Akron. Goedert has also recorded five home runs with 17 RBI while showing good plate discipline (20 walks compared to 20 strikeouts). The numbers include a dominant Tuesday night performance this week, which saw Goedert go 4-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI.
Strong offensive numbers are nothing new for Goedert, though.
In 2010, while splitting time between Akron and Class AAA Columbus, Goedert compiled a .283/.358/.532 line with 27 home runs and 83 RBIs. Also, in 2011, while again playing at Akron and Columbus, Goedert had a .272/.350/.508 line with 18 home runs and 48 RBIs.
Something that is new to Goedert, however, is being back at Class AA. After a strong 2011 campaign in Columbus (.271/.346/.493 with 15 home runs and 39 RBIs), Goedert appeared poised to start the season at the Class AAA and position himself for a potential Major League call up down the road. However, the acquisitions of Russ Canzler and Andy LaRoche combined with the designations of Matt LaPorta and Chisenhall to Class AAA created an overabundance of infielders/outfielders, and Goedert was forced to begin the season in Akron.
Goedert’s confidence never swayed.
“If nothing else, in Triple A, it’s nice to know there’s not, in my opinion, that big of a jump between Double A and Triple A compared to maybe High A to Double A,” Goedert said. “I know that being here now, but also just the nice thing about Columbus is you see how close the big leagues are. It’s right there and then knowing that there’s not that much of a difference between here and there. You’re still pretty close to the big leagues.
Ultimately, as is the case with every minor league player, Goedert said he hopes to make it back to Class AAA and then to the Major Leagues. Ideally, Goedert would catch on with the Indians as he fills a number of the team’s needs.
For one, he has power. Also, he can play the outfield. Thirdly, he has versatility. All three things are desirable traits for a Major League player, especially one for the current Indians.
Oh, one more thing. He hits right-handed. It’s not as if the Indians desperately lack right-handed hitting at the moment, right?
Yet, before Goedert can make it to Cleveland, he must first get back to Columbus, and he has a particular mindset of how to attain those goals.
“(Class AAA is) where you want to be and when you’re there, you want to be in Cleveland,” Goedert said. “I have to go out and play and do well and those sort of things are usually out of someone’s hands, so I’m gonna go try to focus on what I can do on the field.”
If his early season numbers are any indication, Goedert could be well on his way.