Tampa Bay Rays MiLB Recap: Tyler Goeddel Slams 3 Homers

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Jun 18, 2013; Dayton, OH, USA; East batter Tyler Goeddel during the Midwest League-All Star Game at Fifth Third Field. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

If Thursday’s minor league games are any indication–which they are not–today’s trade deadline is going to be crazy for the Tampa Bay Rays. We had history from an unlikely source in Montgomery, a pair of extra-inning thrillers, and three of the Rays’ top prospects doing exciting things down in the Gulf Coast League. Let’s get into it.

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Double-A Southern League: Montgomery Biscuits 4, Tennessee Smokies (CHC) 3

If I told you that a Tampa Bay Rays prospect had just hit 3 home runs in a game, Tyler Goeddel would not be one of your first guesses. Richie Shaffer would come to mind first, and understandably so because he hit 3 home runs on June 12th. J.P. Arencibia and his “homers but nothing else” season would come next, but he isn’t exactly a prospect. Then you would think of Casey Gillaspie, who is on the DL, guys with a lot of raw power like Hunter Lockwood and Patrick Leonard, and maybe a player just having a terrific all-around season like Taylor Motter. You would glance at the Rays’ affiliates homer leaderboard to add Johnny Field and Jace Conrad to the list, and at that point, you would think that you had covered every possible name.

But no, it was Goeddel, who began Thursday with 4 home runs and finished it with 7. It has been lucky sevens for Goeddel this season as he now has 7 doubles, 7 triples, and 7 homers–but especially the doubles are bizarrely low after he hit 25 of them last season. In any event, Goeddel’s first homer tied the game at 1 in the fourth inning, he second knotted it at 3 in the sixth, and his third gave the Biscuits a 4-3 lead. MiLB.com has video of all three home runs,

Overall, Goeddel now has a .255/.332/.385 line in 371 plate appearances on the season. Speaking of lucky sevens, this game finally got Goeddel’s OPS above .700 at .717. There have been some highlights–particularly his 17 steals in 21 attempts, his strong outfield defense, and the fact that he has decreased his strikeout rate from 2014 while keeping his walk rate constant–but his lack of power entering this game was a major concern. This is the 22-year-old Goeddel’s fourth year as a professional, yet he still hasn’t filled out his 6’4″ frame as he weighs just 186 pounds. He has the leverage in his swing to have games like this, but not the strength to hit homers more consistently.

Goeddel is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft following the season, and as of right now, it is hard to believe that the Rays would add him (a little bit of a teaser for the mailbag piece I’m going to write about the Rule 5 after the trade deadline). However, the Rays loved his upside when they gave him the second-highest bonus in their 2011 draft class behind only Taylor Guerrieri, and most of that upside remains. Goeddel is no longer a third baseman, but that won’t matter if he starts tapping into his vast power potential. Is that something he can do over the season’s last month to give himself a chance for a 40-man roster spot?

To finish the offensive performances, Juniel Querecuto had the lone non-Goeddel RBI, Hector Guevara went 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored, and Joey Rickard walked twice and stole 2 bases. On the pitching side, meanwhile, Jacob Faria was solid on his 22nd birthday, allowing 1 run on 3 hits, striking out 6 while walking 2. He labored (92 pitches), and managed just a 3-6 groundout to flyout ratio, but he battled to give Montgomery another strong start. Ryan Garton then allowed 2 unearned runs on 2 hits in 3 innings, striking out 4 while walking 1, before Brad Schreiber stranded a walk with 2 K’s for the save.

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High-A Florida State League: Charlotte Stone Crabs 5, Lakeland Flying Tigers (DET) 4 (19 innings)

This game was downright bizarre–it was just 1-1 entering extra innings. The Stone Crabs scored a run on an error in the seventh, but Eduar Quinonez was unable to strand the runner that he inherited on second base as Lakeland tied the game. Charlotte finally scored again in the 14th on a Yoel Araujo RBI single, but Isaac Gil blew the save. They came through for a second straight frame in the 15th on a Maxx Tissenbaum RBI single, but Josh Kimborowicz let the Flying Tigers tie it again. In the 19th, though, the Stone Crabs got 2 runs on an Andrew Velazquez double, a Mike Marjama triple, and then a Willy Adames RBI single. Position player Pat Blair allowed only 1 run in his second inning of work in the bottom of the frame as Charlotte finally won by a 5-4 score.

Something that was probably long-forgotten in Lakeland by the time the game finished was how dominant Hunter Wood was. He tossed 6 innings allowing a 2-out single in the third inning and nothing else, striking out 6 without a walk. Wood made just 3 starts in Bowling Green before being promoted to Charlotte as a starter, but he continues to dominate nonetheless, maintaining a 1.42 ERA through 3 outings. We will have to see if his changeup develops sufficiently for Wood to remain a starter, but the Rays will give him every chance to do so at this point.

We didn’t actually mention the relievers that were good. Kyle McKenzie tossed 4 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking none. Then, much later in the game, Steve Ascher pitched 2 scoreless frames, giving up a lone hit while striking out 1. On the offensive side, meanwhile, Adames went 4 for 9 with his RBI and a run scored, Araujo went 4 for 8 with his RBI, Granden Goetzman went 3 for 9, and Blair accompanied his 1 run allowed in 2 innings on the mound by going 2 for 7 with a walk and 2 runs scored. Tissenbaum also played a position other than catcher (third base) for just the second time since 2013.

I’m approaching 1000 words just from those two games, so we’re going to have to do this in slides for once.

Next: The Hot Rods' Doubleheader