Detroit Tigers utility man Niko Goodrum is starting to settle in to the shortstop position as he begins his third year in Major League Baseball. And you can bet he’s on a personal quest to become the best player that he can be.
He’s putting in the work in Spring Training not only to improve his game, but to work towards becoming a leader in the clubhouse.
“I don’t have a problem saying stuff to people,” he said. “I expect a lot out of people and people have to check me, too. It’s that type of thing that goes into it.
“I hold myself accountable. I hold myself to a certain standard. I care.”
Last season, Goodrum hit .248 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 423 at-bats before being shut down with an abductor strain in August. Of course, on a team with 114 losses, that may not move the needle for most. But for Goodrum, losing doesn’t sit well with him – but it’s the effort and work you put in that counts.
“If something doesn’t go your way, that doesn’t mean you weren’t prepared for it or you didn’t work for it,” he said. “Sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. But every day, if you go out there and give 100 percent effort, I expect that out of everybody. And if you are slacking, then I have to check you on it.
“I have no problem with that. I want to win. I want everybody to feel like at the end of the day I left it out there. If that’s the last game they ever play, they’ll be able to say, ‘All right, boom, I did it.’ I don’t want them to go home and be like, ‘Dang, I didn’t do all I could.’”
Goodrum is ready to take the next step in his career and separate himself from the rest of the crowd.
“It’s time for a change, time for me to just step up,” Goodrum said. “It’s time for me to consistently be impactful, rather than just having spurts of it. That’s the step everyone takes and if you don’t take it, you are just in the mix.
“I hold myself to that standard. I’m never satisfied, always trying to get better. That doesn’t mean you have to do something crazy. Just be better and make the team better around you. That’s what the next step is for me.”
He was drafted by the AL Central Division rival Minnesota Twins in 2010, and spent plenty of time playing through the minors before coming to Detroit in 2017 as a minor-league free agent. While he was grateful for the opportunity to be drafted by Minnesota, he’s a Tiger now, and he wants to show the Twins everything they’ve lost.
“I always had confidence in my ability to perform and play,” Goodrum said. “I just didn’t get the opportunity. Out there with the Twins for seven or eight years, some people were just looking the other way and couldn’t see what they have. Every year, another draft – they had a lot of players to look at.
“I always said I appreciate them for drafting me and giving me an opportunity. But Detroit is getting the benefit of it. Everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”
– – Quotes via Chris McCoskey of The Detroit News Link– –