Tyler Goeddel still has a long way to go… and that’s perfectly fine.
Being a Rule-5 selection this year, Goeddel has to stay on the Phillies roster or else his rights are offered back to Tampa Bay. He’s hoping to follow in the footsteps of Odubel Herrera, who was a Rule-5 pick two years ago and has since turned into a darn good ballplayer.
It hasn’t been easy going for the 23-year-old over the first month. Yet, that isn’t all that unexpected considering he’s making the jump from Double-A to the big leagues.
“When you go from Double-A, you’re playing against 21-year-olds and now you have guys who are 35, it’s a different game,” said catcher Cameron Rupp. “He showed in spring training playing against those guys he can play up here. He’ll come along. We’re all pulling for him.”
Goeddel has appeared in 12 of the first 21 games with 25 at-bats. Up until April 23, he had just one hit in 16 at-bats for a .063 average. That lone hit wound up being a big one as his single against San Diego in his debut at Citizens Bank Park led to the game’s first run in a 3-0 win.
“We’re going to bring him along easy,” said manager Pete Mackanin after the April 12 game. “He’s going to start playing a little bit more… he’s such a solid defender that it’s not hard to keep running him out there.”
That was two weeks ago. His playing time has slowly risen. In his last three games, Goeddel is progressively coming around. He has three hits in nine at-bats, upping his average to .160. It doesn’t seem like much, but trending upwards – even slightly – is always a good feeling for a younger guy.
He believes the one area he’ll have to work on is his strength to counter the pitching he’ll be facing. His initial takeaway was the fact that everyone in the major leagues throws hard as opposed to what he was seeing in Double-A. For that reason, he’s really working on shortening his swing that “works against any velocity.”
“I feel I’m a lot better than I was a year ago,” Goeddel said. “I learned a lot playing in Double-A last season. This offseason I worked hard and spring training was a good experience for me. I really feel like I’m in a lot better situation than I was in.”
He admits he’s still getting used to not playing every day like he was last year, but that it’s just something he has to adjust to if he wants to succeed.
“I just have to play my game,” Goeddel said. “Not try to press or do too much. I feel if I just relax the nerves, I’ll be good to go.