Connections: Neosho players learn from bros in the pros

Tanner Rosenthal of Neosho throws a few against Cochise.

Neosho County (Kan.) Community College players Conner Goedert, 3, and Tanner Rosenthal, 40, each have brothers in pro baseball.

Connor Goedert of Neosho rounds the bases after hitting another HR.

Tanner Rosenthal spent his winter vacation pumping iron and throwing bullpen sessions alongside St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter.

Last fall, he attended a number of playoff games during the Cardinals’ deep 2012 postseason run.

It’s good to have a brother in pro baseball.

Both Rosenthal and Neosho County (Kan.) Community College teammate Connor Goedert know the value of having an older brother playing at the next level.

Tanner’s brother is Trevor Rosenthal, a rifle-armed right-handed relief pitcher for the Cardinals who can touch 100 mph with his explosive fastball.

Connor’s brother is Jared Goedert, a third baseman with the Indianapolis Indians, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate.

For Tanner and Connor, extra attention comes along with their recognizable surnames.

“A lot of people come up to me and ask me, ‘Are you Trevor Rosenthal’s brother?’ and stuff like that,” said Tanner, a right-handed pitcher for Neosho. “Sometimes it’s good things, and sometimes it gets annoying, but it’s nice to have that.”

Especially nice when training with your brother in St. Louis over winter break means getting to talk shop with an accomplished veteran pitcher like Carpenter.

“I learned a lot about Chris,” said Tanner, a freshman. “I tried to pick his brain a little, see what he knows. He’s definitely intense in the weight room, and he was pretty helpful with me. He had some good pointers.”

Pointers that will come in handy in the weight room and on the mound.

Big brother has some good tips, too. Although he only made his debut last summer, Trevor has already accomplished much on the big-league stage and is always there to counsel little brother as Tanner works to craft his own baseball legacy.

“I try to text him or call him every day after his game,” said Tanner, who played at Lee’s Summit West High School in Missouri before heading to Neosho. “He definitely has a busy schedule, so we just try to keep in touch as much as possible.”

Trevor’s been exactly where Tanner is right now — the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series. Trevor, who converted from shortstop to pitcher in college, made the trip to Grand Junction as a freshman with Cowley (Kan.) College in 2009.

“He told me a lot about it,” said Tanner, who sports a 9.18 ERA in 16 2/3 innings of work and throws four pitches — a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball and changeup.

So does young Tanner have 100 mph in his arm like big brother?

“I don’t even know the last time I was clocked,” he said, laughing. “It’s definitely crazy how hard he throws.”

Although pitching runs is in the Rosenthal blood, hitting is what the Goederts do.

Connor is a third baseman, just like his older brother, with big offensive numbers. The freshman, who committed to Wichita State University in the fall, brought a .333 average, 22 doubles, nine home runs and 49 RBI into the World Series and could well be selected by a team in the upcoming Major League Baseball draft.

“He’s going to do nothing but get better,” said Neosho coach Steve Murry, who played with Connor’s dad, Joe, at Cloud County (Kan.) Community College back in the day. “His dad was a fantastic hitter. Connor, he’s got all the tools you’d ever need. I saw his brother in high school, and he’s better than his brother.”

Joe and Jared played at both Cloud County and Kansas State University.

Beginning with the family’s big-hitting patriarch, baseball is what the Goederts are all about. All four of Joe’s boys, including middle children Keaton and Corbin, played at least high school baseball — among myriad other sports.

As for dad, he really could hit. Just ask Murry.

“Connor’s dad was a left-handed hitting first baseman that absolutely raked,” Neosho’s veteran coach recalled. “I don’t remember anything about his defense. I just remember that guy could hit. He hit right behind me in the order. He hit in the four hole and I hit three hole, and I knew if I was on, I would have to score, so I’d have to get my fat butt running. He could absolutely smash.”

Just like his sons.

These days, Joe is content to watch Connor and Jared hit.

“Fortunately, with technology today, we can follow Jared’s game while at Connor’s game and vice versa,” said the proud dad, who is in Grand Junction for the World Series. “We went through a time, when they were all playing growing up, where we’d have four games in one night. It made for some interesting summers.”

The Goederts hope the interesting summers continue as their eldest son, Jared, and youngest, Connor, pursue big-league careers. As Jared, a ninth-round draft pick by the Cleveland Indians in 2006, can attest, the road to the majors can be taxing.

“That’s the biggest thing he’s taught me,” said Connor, who attended Ottawa (Kan.) High School. “If I want to be able to do the same thing, it’s going to be a process. It’s going to be a grind. You have to keep bringing it every day. It’s going to be a struggle, and you just have to push through it.”

But big brother set a fine example.

“He’s a great role model for all my brothers,” Connor said. “Honestly, I try to be like him, his work ethic. If I could, I would want to be just like him. He’s a great example for a big brother.”


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