Graduating to Better Things: Tyler Goeddel

For the second year in a row the Phillies attempted to catch lightning in a bottle with an outfielder in the Rule 5 draft. Unlike Odubel Herrera, Goeddel came with some hype as a former first round pick who has an established hit tool. It turns out that jumping from AA to the majors is not as easy as Herrera made it look. Instead of getting another top hitter, the Phillies got one of the worst statistical performances in the majors this year. Given the state of the 2016 Phillies, no one is regretting their decision either as Goeddel stuck through the season in the majors mostly riding the bench for Pete Mackanin. Goeddel turns 24 this offseason, so he is still fairly young, and he showed some solid talent despite the poor statistical showing. He will probably get a chance to win a bench job in spring training, but more likely he goes to AAA to get back on the development track that was interrupted last winter.

What Was Written Before the Season:

19. Tyler Goeddel – OF

Role: Major League Regular
Risk: Medium – Goeddel is going to be in the major leagues in 2016, but that doesn’t mean he is ready for the challenge.   Goeddel still has not grown into his frame, leaving his present power non-ideal for a corner.  Additionally, he struggled in AA to hit RHPs, which could limit his major league role.
Summary: The Rays decided that Goeddel was #41 on their full roster, and exposed him to the Rule 5 draft, knowing that he was likely to get picked, and get picked early.  The Phillies followed through on that by taking Goeddel #1 overall in the Rule 5 draft (the Reds would have taken him at #2 had the Phillies passed).  In many ways, Goeddel is the ideal Rule 5 pick, because he combines major league ready skills with future growth.  Goeddel’s biggest strength is his hit tool.  He has always shown a feel for contact from a good swing and in 2015 he made enough strides with his strikeout rate to have it translate to his stats.  Helping the cause was the start of some power growth in his long, lanky frame.  The result was some doubles turning into home runs and better contact overall.  Goeddel still has a long way to go as he still struggles to put on muscle mass.  On the bases Goeddel is an above average to plus runner, who has been a good base stealer so far in his career.  Outside of the need for more strength, Goeddel’s biggest problem has been struggling against right handed pitching.  This leaves his bat as a solid current platoon bat for contact and a bit of pop, but it leaves him lacking as a regular.  The bat was not the improvement Goeddel made in 2015.  Much like Odubel Herrera, Goeddel had been playing a position that was not working, in this case third base.  Unlike Herrera, Goeddel has already made the position switch, and his athleticism has taken well to the outfield.  Right now he is a solid defender in left and right, with a good arm.  He can play center field, but it is not ideal for a major league team.  He should be fine in whichever corner a team plays him in.  There is upside here, as Goeddel could turn into a 20 home run, good contact, and good OBP bat if he can put on good muscle.  However, his struggles against same side pitching are a problem, and his current bat is not good enough to start for a competitive club.  Even with those deficiencies, he should be a contributor to a major league team because he can hit lefties and play good defense in the corners.  Given that he was a Rule 5 pick, the Phillies are really only betting on him being a contributor, but they have the ABs to let him try and reach his fill ceiling.
2016 Outlook: Goeddel will start in the major leagues, and the Phillies have no reason to not keep him there all year.  Odubel Herrera had one of the best Rule 5 seasons ever, and he was horrendous to start the year, so the learning curve may be steep for a bit.  Expect ups and downs with both his playing time and results on the field as he adjusts to the major league game.

What Happened in the Minors:

Tyler Goeddel should have played in the minors, but he stuck with the Phillies all year because of the Rule 5 draft.

What Happened in the Majors:

Stat Line: 92 G 234 PA 3 2B 3 3B 3 HR 3 SB .192/.258/.291 7.3% B% 22.2% K%
Major League Debut: April 6, 2016

When Aaron Altherr went down with an injury in spring training there was a spot opened for Goeddel in a platoon with Cedric Hunter in LF. Goeddel quickly ran into the problem that plagued Darin Ruf this season where there were not enough LH starting pitchers to make a platoon actually work. In response to this, Pete Mackanin inserted Goeddel as the everyday left fielder. Goeddel would maintain that job from May 4 through about June 10. He would hit .288/.342/.452 in 79 May plate appearances, highlighted by a run from May 8 to May 29 where he hit .345/.397/.552 over 17 games with 4 walks to 7 strikeouts over 63 plate appearances. It was not even just at the plate that Goeddel helped the Phillies go on a run of success as he saved a game vs the Reds with this throw.

But this is the 2016 Phillies, good times cannot last forever. Goeddel would end his run as the undisputed starter in left field having played 30 games (starting 28), coming to the plate 104 times while hitting .260/.317/.438. It was a respectable run for a player making the jump to the majors.

Goeddel would never get another sustained run of starts, he would appear in only 49 more games (starting 21), he would hit .130/.221/.174 over a similarly long 104 plate appearance sample size. Even when the end of the season was in sight Goeddel would remain attached to the bench until a concussion on September 21 would end his season.

Overall, Goeddel had a decent approach at the plate, maybe at times a bit too passive. His big problem all year would be the quality of contact as he put up a ground ball rate of 53.8% and an infield fly ball rate of 17.0% on his 29.4% fly ball rate. Part of the problem was his inability to square up major league pitching both due to inexperience and the holes he would put himself in at the plate. Additionally, his lack of strength was a detriment for his ability to drive the baseball with authority. In the field the metrics were not kind, but this was also Goeddel’s second season in the outfield and his reps in left and right field were lacking. He showed good arm strength and at times stellar defense, but his routes could be adventuresome at times.

The Future:

It was clear that Tyler Goeddel was not ready for the major leagues, which is fine because no one thought he was ready for the major leagues coming into the year. In an ideal world Goeddel would have gone to AAA until he either forced his way to the majors or a job opened up. It looks like he will be doing that in 2017 instead. He should join what should be a loaded IronPigs outfield that could also include Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens, Roman Quinn, and Andrew Pullin. Goeddel still needs to add muscle so that he can begin to hit for power, otherwise he will have a tough time stick in an outfield corner. Additionally he needs to get more reps in the outfield because he will need to be able to handle both left and right field defensively. Goeddel’s likely outcome is still probably a bench outfielder, but there is a chance he could be an everyday player if he can hit his ceiling. What has happened is that the actualization of those outcomes has been pushed back and that adds plenty of risk to a player who spent the whole year on the major league roster.

Author: Matt Winkelman

Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has appeared on Phuture Phillies, The Good Phight, and TheDynastyGuru.

1 comment

  1. Let them both start in AAA and look toward a Williams/Goeddel platoon in Philly by the end of 2017.