Center fielder Brian Goodwin has quickly become one of the brightest lights in the Washington Nationals farm system. Goodwin tantalized amateur scouts with his tools since high school. There was some questions about how ready he was for pro ball, but so far the Nats look like they made a shrewd investment in the talented prospect.
As a North Carolina prep player Goodwin was seen as an athlete with interesting raw tools. He dropped to the 17th round anyway because of signability concerns and ended up heading to school in the Fall at UNC. Goodwin performed well for the Tar Heels and in summer ball, but was suspended for the Spring semester of his Junior year for violating university policies. This prompted him to transfer to Miami-Dade Junior College where a strong Spring and saw his stock rise again. Enough questions remained for teams that he lasted until the 34th overall pick. Goodwin did receive a well-over-slot three million dollar bonus, though. As a professional, Goodwin has put up an impressive overall line of .272/.372/.460. He advanced to Double-A in his first pro season continues to hit well.
Goodwin displays plus bat speed and very quick hands. He whips the bat head through the zone and the barrel takes a short path to the ball. Goodwin is also a selective hitter. He sees a lot of pitches and works into deep counts. He’s not just patient but is an intelligent hitter at the plate with some idea of what he wants to accomplish. Goodwin stays back well and lets the ball travel deep. He keeps his hands inside the ball and its difficult to bust him inside. I see solid average power projection with a chance for more if he can make further refinements to his swing. The left-handed hitter has a strong frame that combined with his bat speed will lead to extra base hits, but he doesn’t always incorporate his lower half fully. He has a tendency to let his swing get overly rotational and upper body oriented. Goodwin frequently looks to pull the ball, and that leaves him vulnerable to soft and breaking stuff low on the outer half. While perhaps not quite a true “burner,” the speed is easily plus. Goodwin’s wheels shows up on the basepaths as well as in the field. Once on base, pitchers have to be aware of the constant threat of stolen bases. As you’d imagine with such speed, Goodwin projects as an above average defender in center. He shows good instincts in the outfield. Some polish is still needed, but Goodwin gets good jumps and tracks balls well. He has an above average arm
Goodwin is a true five tool center fielder. Perhaps he won’t become a true star, but the potential for it is there. Either way he’s going to be a very valuable major leaguer.
The Path to Playing Time
Even though Goodwin is flying through the minors, the outfield in D.C. is full. The Nats just committed to Denard Span in center field. Jayson Werth has a big money deal and Adam LaRoche is blocking Werth from sliding over to first base through at least next year. Bryce Harper… well… he’s Bryce Harper. With no pressing need for outfield help and the roster pretty well stacked for 2013 and 2014, Goodwin may end up spending a full year each at Double-A and Triple-A. Injury or trades could always accelerate the timeline. A debut sometime in 2014 seems reasonable. Among other Nats prospects, Eury Perez is a true centerfielder as well… but Goodwin easily projects as the superior player.
- On 40 Man Roster: No
- Options Remaining: 3
What to Expect
It’s not difficult to see Goodwin as an above average major leaguer at an up the middle position. He showed up to pro ball far more mature than expected, but he will need further at-bats against high minors pitching and more reps in the outfield to polish his game.
- Mixed League Value: Strong. A .280 average and 15+ home runs is well within reach and there could be more. With such a potent bat he’ll likely hit in the middle or top of a lineup and pile up counting stats. He has the wheels for 30+ stolen bases.
- NL Only League Value: Strong. Goodwin will fill up your statline. Not quite a top tier option, but can become a weaker OF1.
- Ottoneu Value: Strong option. Profile for consistent Ottoneu production thanks to his well balanced skill set.
- OBP League Value: Goodwin’s value is further increased in OBP leagues with his high walk totals.
Thanks for reading – AS
Many thanks to Jeff Dooley and the New Britain Rock Cats organization for courtesies extended
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