Bold Prediction: Tyler Goeddel Will Compete For NL Rookie Of The Year
Corey Seager, Steven Matz, Julio Urias, Trea Turner, Tyler Goeddel. That’s how I see the 2016 NL Rookie of the Year race. There are some studs in this rookie class, but Goeddel is a multi-tooled offensive player, and is not likely to be a defensive liability. If he gets hot, he could put up counting stats that make some of the voters for the writers’ annual Post-Season-Make-Your-Own-News (POSMYON) Awards take notice. Yes, the Posmyons. The statues are lovely. It’s a likeness of William Randolph Hearst orchestrating a war. Ok…maybe that’s a bad comp.
Consider Tyler Goeddel’s 2015 at AA – in 533 PAs, he racked up 17 doubles, 10 triples, and 12 homers, plus 28 steals (he needs to improve a little on a 75% rate). He walked at a solid 9.0% and struck out at just an 18.4% rate. His slash of .279/.350/.433 is not awe inspiring, but as a 22-year-old, and one of the 20 or so youngest players in his league, his offense accounted for a 122 wRC+, or 22% better than average in a league that saw significant samples from big names like Miguel Sano, Kyle Schwarber, Byron Buxton, Orlando Arcia and Max Kepler, among others.
No way to say for sure how his stats might translate, but take into account a couple things – your “average” Posmyon voter likes counting stats, and unlike many young guys, Goeddel’s likely to be playing nearly every day with Aaron Altherr out until at least July. That gives him a potential numbers edge over guys who start the season in the minors. Though Trea Turner has been optioned already, and Julio Urias will spend some time in AAA, I think they’ll likely overtake Goeddel when all is said and done. But other big names, among them the Phils’ own J.P. Crawford and Nats’ Lucas Giolito, aren’t likely to see significant time until mid-season or later, tamping down their chances at significant support for the award.
Another consideration is the club’s success with another Rule 5 pick last year – Odubel Herrera was struggling a bit early on, as Goeddel or any Rule 5 guy is likely to, but Herrera and the coaching staff turned it around to help him hit to a 110 wRC+, contributing to easily the most successful rookie campaign from a pick under the current framework for the Rule 5 Draft. Assuming Herrera-like success from another Rule 5 pick would be a bit foolish, even with mainly the same bunch of position player coaches around. But Goeddel is a different type of player, with a bit more power evident, a year more experience in his “new” position than Herrera had, and barring early promotions of some top tier prospects, a thinner rookie class with which to contend. He’s not as likely to get a ton of defensive value into his WAR as Herrera, but as we’ve seen, many voters for the Posmyons don’t really value WAR and other advanced metrics over traditional stats, so simply not making a bunch of errors could be good enough.
So rack up the extra base hits, young man. Take that walk and nudge that OPS a couple points higher. Steal and steal and steal some more. And try not to drop any flyballs, ok? It just might get you into the history books in the Top 5 of the 2016 Rookie of the Year voting with a handful of perennial all-stars.
And, not for nothing – if you truncate Goeddel’s first name, and intentionally misprounce Herrera’s, you can chant “Oh-Du-Bell and Ty Goe-Dell, and All The Rest Can Go To Hell”. If Goeddel has a season that rivals Herrera’s, Mike Ondo gets to say that into the mic at next year’s Rule 5. Then pick up the mic and drop it, and someone brings him a cape to wear and they play “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag” on the loud speakers and he just struts out of the room.
Something to look forward to.