Jake Goebbert was selected in the 14th round by the Houston Astros during the 2009 Amateur Baseball Draft. The Hampshire, Ill., native has made good progress in the minors, starting at Tri-City of the Low Class A New York-Penn League to Triple-A Oklahoma City last season. The 24-year-old visited with staff writer Ed Godfrey before Sunday's game vs. Memphis at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Question: You were called up from Double-A Corpus Christi last year to play in Oklahoma City for the last month of the season. How much did that experience help prepare you for this season?
Answer: “It gave me a lot of confidence. The feel and the confidence is the biggest thing.”
What did you learn the most in that month?
“To be consistent was the biggest thing I learned and how to do that. There is definitely a difference in the game at the Triple-A level. I am still taking strides to be consistent, day in and day out. It's definitely a more important factor in Triple- A than anywhere else.”
You were raised on a farm in Illinois. What was that like?
“I grew up about an hour west of Chicago on a farm. My parents do an agri-tainment business in the fall so we do a big pumpkin patch. It's a real small town. I graduated with 120 students and was pretty active my whole life. I played football, basketball and baseball.”
Was baseball your favorite sport?
“Baseball has always been my passion. My dad played in college. I don't know if it started because I wanted to be like him growing up or because I was fairly good at it when I was young.”
Did your dad teach you the game?
“I was given a lot of opportunities through my parents. They bought me a batting cage and put it in our barn when I was young and things like that. They always got me good coaches and put me on the best teams.”
A batting cage in the barn? So you were out there swinging a bat around cows and chickens?
“It was in the upstairs level in the old hay loft. My dad set up lights. It had a batting cage and a pitching machine. He got tired of feeding me balls so the next year for Christmas they got me an automatic ball feeder so I could go up there and (hit) whenever I wanted.”
Were you in the hay loft swinging a bat every day?
“Pretty much every day, yeah. That's how I learned to hit. It was more repetition than lessons.”
Did you have to work hard growing up on the farm?
“I worked but as long we were busy and active (my parents) didn't pressure us to work. They let us be kids as well. I have to give them a ton of credit to be in the position I am.”
What did you do in the off season?
“My wife and I had a busy off-season. We bought a house, so between fixing the house up and going to the Arizona Fall League and then coming home and working (on the farm), it was a busy and quick off-season.”
How did you do in the Arizona Fall League?
“OK. I started real slow but finished strong. I was on the team that won it, which was awesome. It was a really neat experience to be out there.”
What kind of team will the RedHawks have this season?
“I think we are going to be a good team. We have a lot of potential, a lot of good veteran players and a solid pitching staff. I am really looking forward to seeing what we got. I am not saying we are going to win a bunch of games, but I think with the team we have we can.”