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2016 Phillies Exit Interview: Tyler Goeddel

One good month does not a season make.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t know much about Tyler Goeddel. That’s certainly an odd sentence with which to start a review of Tyler Goeddel’s season. Typically, one tries to display some level of expertise in these situations so that you, the reader, will consider these words worth the time, strain on your eyes, and mental energy required to read them. Unfortunately, I can’t offer you much of that if what you were looking for is some firm knowledge about Tyler Goeddel.

What I can offer is an explanation for why I don’t know much about this player I signed up—entirely voluntarily and free of coercion—to write about. Perhaps in that we’ll learn something about Goeddel or the Phillies. Maybe we’ll be left with more questions than answers. Either would be fine: a tangible product of this writing.

Part of the reason I know so little about Goeddel is that he played in fewer than 100 games for the Phillies and made fewer than 250 plate appearances. Since he was a Rule 5 draft pick, that Goeddel even remained with the organization at all speaks a certain volume about not only the Phillies organizational lack of major league ready outfielders but the esteem in which they hold Goeddel. However, those lack of plate appearances leave us little to say beyond that.

In only one month did Goeddel step to the plate more 50 times. In that month (May), he had by far his most productive stretch at the plate. In that month—in which he started 22 games—he hit .288/.342/.452, a line 13 percent better than league average according to wRC+. On May 29, his OPS hit its season high of .711. He started hitting (some) dingers and was getting on base at a respectable clip. But, not two weeks later, his days as a starter were over. That coincided with the arrival of Jimmy Paredes off waivers, which works less as a satisfying explanation than it does a temporal coincidence.

Though Goeddel remained on the roster throughout the season, his role gradually decreased after the Paredes came. Of Goeddel’s 234 plate appearances, over 70 percent of them came prior to the All Star break. His lack of playing time in for of the likes of Paredes, Peter Bourjos, and Cody Asche was a constant source of consternation in a season full of them. Beat writers may well have felt the same way. In August, they asked manager Pete Mackanin, more or less, "why isn’t this 23 year old dude on the roster playing over veterans who will be gone in two months?" Mackanin replied, again, more or less, that there was no reason to play Goeddel. He was going to be around in 2017, so they could figure it out then.

There’s a plausible line of thought where this response makes sense. If Goeddel was truly overmatched by major league pitching, it’s possible that giving him more futile attempts in 2016 would lead to either a loss of confidence or the acquisition of bad habits. There’s a reason, after all, that rebuilding teams still bring their prospects through the minors. There are things to learn down there and the potential that a premature call-up will set them back.

But, after what Goeddel showed in May, that position is hard to justify in this case. In the only month when he received anything resembling consistent playing time, he found the most success in his stint in the majors. He was hitting for average, taking walks, and he even found a little bit of power. It would have been nice to see how that played out, but, as Mackanin said, he had seen enough.

Take out that month of May and Goeddel looks like the sort of player who certainly needs more time in the minors before he’s ready for the majors. Without May, his overall line is .143/.214/.207 and a 27.7 percent strikeout rate, which isn’t going to cut it for a hitter of Goeddel’s profile. Add back in May, and he was still unimpressive on the whole. A .192/.258/.291 line with four home runs and a 22.2 percent strikeout rate in his first and premature taste of the majors isn’t disastrous by any means, but it also won’t have anyone proclaiming him the next great Phillies outfielder.

Unlike some of the players he sat behind last season, Goeddel will almost certainly be a member of the Phillies organization in 2017. Given that he never played above AA before he was forced to the majors on account of the rules governing the Rule 5 draft and didn’t exactly take to major league pitching smoothly, he’ll likely start the season in the minor leagues. An injury could bring him back to Philly, but if all goes according to plan, we won’t hear much from Goeddel until 2018, saving me from writing another one of these.