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Granden Goetzman is taking his baseball career to the next level with the support of IMG Academy baseball program

Granden Goetzman
Former IMG Academy baseball program trainee Granden Goetzman is entering his second year with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays

The former Palmetto High star is entering his first full season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The local star seems to feel no pressure being right at home. He used to go to the Rays games as a kid, and is surrounded by an immense amount of support from family and friends. So, unlike most young players, he seems to be in his element and enjoying every bit of it. The 6'4", 200 pound former shortstop has recently changed his position to outfield due to his overall athletic build and speed. Yet again, this 19 year old will not let anything faze him or get in his way of him fulfilling his dreams. Goetzman has been training this off-season at IMG Academy baseball program under prestigious coaches like Ken Bolek. "I'm over at IMG Monday thru Friday. We'll do movement stuff, speed stuff. - baseball activity every single day - lifting weights and all that stuff. It's a good place over there." Goetzman's main goal is to become a “five tool player” and IMG Academy is truly the place to become that TOTAL ATHLETE.

Goetzman and his growing career was recently discussed in

Granden Goetzman (pronounced "Getz-man") looked right at home standing in front of his locker in the Rays' clubhouse at Tropicana Field after a workout at the Winter Development Program last month.

And why shouldn't he be comfortable? The 19-year-old 2011 draft pick is very familiar with the landscape at the Trop, was a rabid Rays' fan growing up and has seen many a game from the stands at the team's home ballpark in St. Petersburg, FL.

But just because he is a local product, Goetzman doesn't feel any additional pressure to perform well as a proud community casts a watchful eye on the graduate from Palmetto High School.

"I don't really feel pressure," Goetzman said with a big smile on his face. " A lot of people know me from around here and that makes it more comfortable."

Goetzman was able to play in front of many supporters last season as he made his professional debut for the rookie level GCL Rays last June in nearby Port Charlotte. The young outfielder was grateful to have the support.

It's kind of nice having the local fans come out. As a hometown guy it's kind of nice to have that."

"I learned a bunch of stuff - the lifestyle, what it's going to take, fundamentals and stuff like that, Goetzman continued. "I just learned a lot about the basic every day grind and that you got to be ready for that."

"I'm pretty much done with the infield," Goeztman said. "I think center field is where I am to be. But I'm a big guy, so maybe the corners. I'm gonna try and keep my speed up and stay in center. Center field is what I want to do and is what I am working for."

At 6'4" and 200 pounds, Goetzman is indeed a "big guy", and his power numbers in high school definitely stand out. He hit .413 with 8 home runs and 32 RBI and 20 of his 33 hits were of the extra base variety his senior year at Palmetto.

But Goetzman has above average speed despite his size and he lists continuing to develop into a complete, five-tool player as one of his main goals in the coming years.

"I really try and work hard to be a five-tool player - hit for power, hit for an average, play great defense," Goetzman said as fellow 2011 draft pick Tyler Goeddel looked on from his locker next to Goetzman's. "I'm just really working hard to be a five tool player. I think I'm getting there and I'm just going to keep working at it."

To reach that goal, he has been training this off-season at the IMG Academy baseball program in Bradenton, Florida, and has been working on a little bit of everything.

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