Minor Matters: Goedert, McBride Are Hot

Two players who don't get much recognition are hitting their way up the Indians' minor-league ladder. Infielder Jared Goedert and outfielder Matt McBride are posting big numbers and suddenly everybody is interested. Goedert started the season at Double-A Akron and hit so well that he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus -- and is hitting even better. McBride is currently on a batting binge at Akron.

Goedert, playing primarily at third base early in the season at Akron, hit .325 (53-for-163) with 14 doubles, seven homers and 32 RBI in 44 games for the Aeros.

The 25-year-old was just getting warmed up.

In 33 games with Clippers, he has hit .326 (43-for-132) with a whopping 15 homers, 28 runs and 32 RBI. He has five homers and nine RBI in his last eight games.

Overall, the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder has hit .325 with 22 homers, 23 doubles and and 64 RBI in 77 games. Though he has also played some second bases and a few games in the outfield during his minor-league career, the Indians have become very interested in him as a third baseman.

The team is trying to trade veteran Jhonny Peralta and almost assuredly will not pick up the 2011 option on his contract if they cannot move him. Andy Marte, given repeated chances over the past four years, has shown he isn't the answer. Wes Hodges, thought to be a third-base prospect, is now playing first base for Columbus.

Lonnie Chisenhall, a left-hand hitter with good credentials, may be a good one down the road, but he's still at Akron, while Goedert has taken command at Columbus.

Goedert has shown flashes of such talent in the past. A ninth-round draft choice in 2006 out of Kansas State, he hit .364 with 16 homers and 51 RBI in only 46 games at Class A Lake County to open the 2007 season. Promoted to Kinston and then Double-A Akron, he regressed. He was used in a utility role a year ago, hitting only .224 with five homers and 37 RBI in 92 games with the Aeros.

McBride has been on a homer binge at Akron, hitting six of them in 11 games. He's also had four doubles and 13 RBI, going 16-for-43, .372, during the streak.

That puts McBride at .275 (86-for-315) with 12 homers, 19 doubles and 48 RBI in 77 games overall.

McBride was drafted with the 75th pick overall in 2006 as a hard-hitting catcher out of Lehigh. After hitting .287 with 37 doubles in 2007, he had shoulder surgery that limited him to 45 games in 2008.

He switched to playing first base and the outfield in 2009 and had a very productive season at the plate. In 129 games for Class A Kinston (31 games) and Akron, he hit .287 with 44 doubles, 18 homers and 99 RBI.

A few other players have been hitting the ball well in the Indians' farm system.

Chris Gimenez, called up to Cleveland over the weekend, hit .276 with nine homers and 32 RBI in 55 games for Columbus, where Hodges is hitting .270 with 21 doubles, eight homers and 41 RBI in 83 games.

Middle infielder Josh Rodriguez batted .336 with 10 doubles, six homers and 22 RBI in 38 games with the Clippers, but was sent down to Akron when veteran Luis Valbuena was demoted from the Indians to Columbus. Rodriguez has not sulked, hitting .317 with seven doubles, one homer and 11 RBI in 21 games for the Aeros.

Jason Kipnis, drafted in the second round as an outfielder, was switched to second base this season and has not let the move affect his hitting. In 81 games between Kinston and Akron, he has hit .297 with 19 doubles, 10 homers, 54 runs and 42 RBI.

In 75 games between Akron and Columbus, outfielder Nick Weglarz has hit .285 with 22 doubles, 10 homers, 42 runs and 42 RBI.

Speedy Jordan Henry has hit .293 combined between Kinston and Akron. He has 42 runs in 66 games overall, going 19-for-22 in steal attempts. Though he is still seeking his first pro career homer after 133 games, he has scored 92 runs, is 41-for-45 in steal attempts and drawn more walks (92) than strikeouts (84) since being a seventh-round pick a year ago out of Mississippi.

Jonathan Burnette, an 18th-round draft choice last month, is off to a good start at Mahoning Valley. In 21 games, the first baseman-outfielder has hit .302 with six doubles, four homers and 14 RBI.

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