July 6, 2011
By Mark Janssen - K-State Sports Extra
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Jared Goedert wants that phone to ring, or wants to be called into the manager’s office, but he also realizes, “To think about that daily would be non-productive. That’s something I have no control over, so why think about it.”
The call that the former K-State baseball letterman wants to get is from the Cleveland Indians. Or, the words he wants to hear from the manager of the Triple A Columbus Clippers is that the “… big club wants you to report.”
Out of the roll call of 15 former Wildcats currently playing professional baseball, it is only Goedert, a product of Concordia, Kan., that is playing at the highest level – Triple A – of minor league baseball.
“Absolutely, to get that call is my main goal, but there’s day to day business to take care of before that can happen,” said the 26-year-old third/first baseman. “Sure, it’s in the back of my head, but in the front of my head is what I have to do here.”
Goedert has been mired in a first-half slump with a batting average of .211. Through games on Monday, nine of his 22 hits have gone for extra bases – five doubles and four home runs – and he has driven home 11 runs for the first-place Clippers that lead the International League’s West Division by 11.5 games with a 57-28 record.
Goedert’s six-year professional career has sent him from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in the New York-Penn League, to the Lake County Captains in the South Atlantic League, to the Kinston Indians in the Carolina League, to the Akron Aeros in the Eastern League and now to the Columbus Clippers in the International League.
Goedert, whose father, Joe, also played for the Wildcats, was a 36th round selection in the 2003 draft out of Concordia High School, and later a ninth round choice by the Indians in 2006 out of K-State.
His professional career batting average is .265, which includes seasons of hitting .364 with 16 home runs for Lake County in 2007, and .283 with 27 homers with Akron and Columbus in 2009.
Injuries plagued Goedert early as he had surgery on a torn labrum in his left shoulder in 2006, and this year in spring training with the Indians he tore an oblique muscle, which has contributed to his slow start this year.
“The injury was disappointing, but being a part of spring training on the 40-man roster and seeing how the guys carry themselves … and how they’re human, too, was a good experience,” said Goedert. “I learned that they don’t do anything special. All the drills were drills I’ve seen before.”
Goedert admits that he probably tried to press too much coming off the injury, which resulted in a sub-.200 average early in the year. But now he says, “I think my timing is back and I’m starting to feel good at the plate. As they say, it’s not how you start the season, but how you finish a season. I just want to continue moving in the right direction.”
Goedert says it’s his consistency that will take him to the next level.
“I’m not a guy that’s going to hit the ball a thousand feet, but I hope the organization knows what they’re going to get from me every day. Mentally, I’m not going to be up one day and down the next. I want to prove that I can be productive offensively, and versatile enough to play a couple positions on defense. I think that can get me to the next level.”
With each level – Class A, to Double A, to Triple A – Goedert says the pitchers don’t necessarily throw any harder than the mid-90s, but as you climb the ranks “… that 95 straight fastball develops some movement and pitchers have a better command of an off-speed pitch. The location and command of the pitches are better. At Triple A, they just know how to pitch better.”
With each level the pay increases and there are upgrades with the travel. In Class A, baseball players receive $1,100 per month while in Triple A, Goedert says, “You have a wide range because you have guys who have played in the major leagues for four or five years, but have been sent down. The range can be from $300,000 to $12,000.
And while trips are only by bus at the lower levels, some travel in Triple A is by air to places like Pawtucket R.I., or Durham, N.C.
“It’s not a charter, but at least we do fly to some of the places. But it’s up at 4, and at the airport by 4:30 for a 6 a.m. flight,” said Goedert, who said the Clippers in-division games are against Louisville, Indianapolis and Toledo. “We play six or seven days a week, so it’s a grind. It’s great to play that many games in a row when you’re doing well, but when you’re not in a groove those at-bats come around pretty quickly and that can get you down.”
In talking to Clipper teammates who do get the call up to the Indians, Goedert said, “They come back talking about the pressure and all the cameras, but what you hear most is that it’s still a baseball game. They say to remember what made you successful and stick with that.”
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