Washington Nationals minor league spotlight: Brian Goodwin

Washington Nationals minor league spotlight: Brian Goodwin
November 26, 2013, 9:30 am
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Age on Opening Day 2014: 23

How acquired: Draft (1st round), June 2011

Position: Center fielder

Prospect Rank: No. 3 in Nats’ org. (Baseball America)

2013 Team/Level: Harrisburg Senators (Double-A)

2013 Stats: 122 G, 533 PA, 457 AB, 82 R, 115 H, 19 2B, 11 3B, 10 HR, 40 RBI, 19 SB, 11 CS, 66 BB, 121 SO, .252 BA, .762 OPS

2013 Analysis: Brian Goodwin spent his 2013 with the Harrisburg Senators, the same place he finished his 2012 season. The young outfielder was much better taking his second shot at Double-A competition, scoring 82 runs as the Senators’ leadoff hitter with 19 stolen bases and a .762 OPS. He played in 122 games despite dealing with a leg injury early in the season and a arm injury in August, both times going to the disabled list. His .252 average was a bit disappointing, but he did post a .355 on-base percentage thanks to 66 walks. His 11 triples – most in the Eastern League – were also a good sign for his potential as a leadoff hitter.

Goodwin earned himself another trip to the Arizona Fall League where he was a standout in 2012. This time he was again very good, hitting .333 through 19 games with two home runs, nine runs scored and 12 RBI. Each time Goodwin has gone up against other top prospects in the AFL he’s been excellent. That certainly affirms his status as one of the most promising prospects in the Nats’ organization.

2014 Outlook: Goodwin is lining up to be the Nats’ center fielder at the big league level some time soon, and they’d like for him to hit leadoff. So far, however, he hasn’t been able to sustain a high average in the minor leagues. His on-base percentage and speed once he gets on are impressive, but .250 in Double-A won’t cut it. Goodwin is 23 years old and is entering a big year for his personal development. This should, in theory, be the year he reaches the majors. If Goodwin was further along, then an early season call-up would be possible.

Because he still has some areas to improve, he’ll likely start at Syracuse and hope for a hot start to the season. A strong 2014 for Goodwin would be a big boost for the Nats who could use a player like him on their bench, and someone ready to take over for Denard Span in 2015. Span is under contract for next season and has a team option for the following year. The Nats would like to move on from him when his deal is up – the 2015 option is for $9 million – and that plan has a lot to do with what Goodwin becomes.