Jared Goedert has passed this way before. And he seems determined to make the most of it.
After playing with the Akron Aeros for parts of the past three years, he is once again a member of the Eastern League team to start the 2012 season. Maybe not for long at his current torrid pace.
Through 18 games, he sits third in the Eastern League with a .379 batting average and has reached base in nearly half of his plate appearances. He has two home runs, including a game-?winner as a pinch hitter.
Between Class AA Akron and AAA Columbus, he also put up lofty numbers the last two years, but he is still looking forward to that long-?anticipated promotion to the parent club in Cleveland.
With his 27th birthday approaching (May 25), he might wonder whether it will ever come.
“I don’t really worry about that,” said Goedert, a right-handed hitter who credits a more aggressive approach for his fast start. “I just focus on going out and getting better each day. Whether that makes me a prospect or something else, I’ll leave that up to somebody else to decide.”
He and his teammates got an unexpected day off Saturday when Akron’s game against the Altoona Curve was postponed by rain. The same teams will play a doubleheader today at 1:05 p.m.
It seemed Goedert’s time might have arrived two years ago when he slammed 27 home runs between AA and AAA while playing every day at third base. But Lonnie Chisenhall, the Indians’ first-round draft pick in 2008, reached the majors first and became the starter at third for part of the 2011 season.
Now Chisenhall is back in Columbus while Jack Hannahan is off to a hot start as the Indians’ third baseman.
“I think things work out the way they are supposed to work out,” Goedert said. “Obviously, I wish it would have happened at some point by now, but it hasn’t. I’m not going to hang my head and get down about that. I feel I can get there, so that’s where my focus is.”
In that regard, Goedert is showing his versatility. He is a regular in left field now but still plays third and first on occasion. Is he possibly being groomed for a utility role?
“I’m not sure, maybe so,” he said. “Whatever their thoughts are, I’m open to it. So far, I feel pretty comfortable in the outfield. If I need to, I can always come back and play third adequately, or first. More than anything, just getting reps in the outfield, getting games under my belt, I’ll feel more and more comfortable.”
Aeros manager Chris Tremie praised Goedert’s willingness to adapt.
“He actually did very well at third base,” Tremie said. “He’s also played second base in his career. He’s played left field, right field and first base. The more positions he can play with his offensive potential, the more value he has as a player. He’s doing that, and he’s doing a very good job at it.”
A 6-foot-1, 205-pound Kansas native, Goedert was drafted twice by the Indians, the first time out of high school. He instead played in college but did sign with the Indians when he was chosen in the sixth round of the June 2006 draft after his junior year at Kansas State University. He gradually worked his way up the organization.
He admitted he would welcome another promotion this year, at least to Columbus, but said he doesn’t feel a sense of urgency.
“I prefer not to even think about that because baseball’s a tough enough game as it is,” Goedert said. “I try to eliminate as much of the pressure that’s out of my control as I can.”