In this series, District Sports Page has provide detailed scouting reports on our list of Top 25 Washington Nationals prospects. You can find our overview with the entire list here. We will now move into even further detailed reports for our Top 10.
And so far in the Top 10:
Now without further ado, here is prospect No. 2, outfielder Brian Goodwin.
2. Brian Goodwin
Bats: Left, Throws: Right
Height: 6′ 0″, Weight: 200 lb.
Born: November 2, 1990 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, US (Age 23)
Draft: First Round (34th overall), 2011
|Hitting Ability||Raw Power||Power Frequency||Plate Discipline||Speed||Base Running||Fielding||Range||Arm Strength||Arm Accuracy||Overall Future Potential|
Goodwin is fresh off another outstanding stint in the Arizona Fall League. After wrapping 11 extra-base hits in his first stint after the 2012 season (fifth best on the circuit), Goodwin hit an impressive .296/.333/.444 this past winter. He’s now solidly established himself as one of the Nationals organization’s elite prospects, though his luke-warm performance during the regular season has prevented him from earning similar consideration when measured against the top players from other organizations. Goodwin though, deserves more acclaim for his talent. He has the tools and the baseball acumen to be an All-Star, and a closer look suggests he’s right on the path to realize that potential.
The Nationals snagged Goodwin in the supplemental first-round of the 2012 draft, and handed him a whopping $3 million bonus, one of the highest in the franchise’s rich history of wallet-busting drafts. After hitting a robust .324/.438/.542 and pushing his way up double-A Harrisburg in his first summer, and at the ripe old age of 21, he’s since stalled a bit. He hit a much more modest .223/.306/.373 there to end 2012, before improving to a productive-though-uninspiring .252/.355/.407 last year.
While his numbers aren’t what you’d expect from a premium prospect just yet, consider this: Goodwin only turned 23 in November, and 2013 was only his first full, healthy season in pro baseball. He plays in the large-park, power-sapping Eastern League where the average player is two years his elder, and still managed to post an above-average 115 wRC+. There’s plenty to like about Goodwin’s potential, and there’s plenty of reason to believe he’s on his way to stardom.
Goodwin hasn’t been overmatched. He did belt 11 triples and 40 total extra-base hits in 122 games and post an impressive .355 on-base percentage last year against some of the best pitching in the minors. His .355 OBP and .155 ISO are actually in the top 10 percent for his age in AA, and should become even more impressive considering the difficulty Harrisburg‘s ballpark — along with the rest of the Eastern League’s parks — pose to young hitters.
The majority of Goodwin’s trouble lays in his work against left-handers. Goodwin posted a .624 OPS vs southpaws in 2013, and has a .686 mark in his career while mashing to a tune of .822 against righties (.850 career). Those numbers shouldn’t be too startling, as many young left-handed hitters struggle with large platoon splits, and lefties in general tend to have larger splits. Goodwin has barely faced two full seasons of pro left-handed pitching, so there’s plenty of reason to believe that he’ll tighten it up with more experience. And even if he doesn’t, he still has the hitting prowess and on-base skills to be a quality everyday player.
Goodwin is essentially a six-tool player, with everything plus solid plate discipline. His clean, fluid left-handed swing looks graceful in the box, and he generates plus bat-speed seemingly effortlessly. He’s lightning quick with the bat, able to read and barrel premium stuff inside. When he’s seeing the ball, he can wait and still hit the ball the other way with authority, though he’s very prone to pulling-off same-side breaking stuff.
Goodwin gets on-base with the best of them, and has the hit tool to continue to post high on-base percentages in the big leagues. His weakness against off-speed and willingness to work deep counts will always result in high strikeout totals, but he’s a tough out and shows the big league plate discipline to set the table. He also has solid home-run power, showing it off to his pull-side and sending premium heat out of big ballparks. His swing generates plenty of backspin and loft, and he hits far more line drives and hard fly balls than most players with his speed. His homerun power will always come to his pull-side, but he laces line-drives to all field and can punish pitches on the outside.
Goodwin has clocked sub 6.5-second sixty-yard dash times, which equates to elite-level speed. He’s not an effective base stealer yet, but his wheels, along with a solid arm and great body control, make him a quality center fielder. His defensive chops are lesser than fellow Nats outfield prospect Michael Taylor’s, but he’s a more polished all-around player and is the likelier pick as the Nationals center fielder of the future. On the basepaths, his wheels have an extra gear and he’s very smooth rounding the bases. He’s adept at going first-to-third and first-to-home, and he’s adept at stretching his own hits in the gap for the extra base. Similar to Denard Span and Bernie Williams, he should be a very valuable baserunner and fielder despite not having the stolen base totals that other guys with top-of-the-scale speed have. His defensive value is shaping up along the same lines. He’s not quite instinctual enough in either department to dominate, but he should almost certainly provide above-average value in both categories.
Goodwin’s five-tool package still gives him sky-high potential. But potential is potential. He’ll have to figure out left-handed pitching and commit himself to his pitch selection as well as his baserunning and fielding reads to reach his star-level ceiling. That’s not to say he’s not an already solid, polished player though. For a long time, the general feeling is that he can do more if he can put in the extra hours.
Goodwin is a possible all-star and Washington’s center fielder of the future. He’s right at the doorstep of the big leagues, and if he can take that final step forward at the plate, he’ll be a supremely valuable Ray Lankford-type center fielder with .350+ OBP’s, 15-20 homers and plenty of extra-base hits annually, to package with reliable defense.