Baseball America’s top Nats prospects - No. 5: Brian Goodwin

The Nationals were very impressed with the speed and hitting ability of outfielder Brian Goodwin at instructional league. The coaches marveled at his speed from home plate to first base and were equally appreciative of his work at the plate.

The way Goodwin played in Viera, Fla., showed a little bit of the potential and a great deal of the talent that the Nationals were looking for when they selected the speedy outfielder early in the First-Year Player Draft in June.

Baseball America has also taken notice of the Miami Dade College and former University of North Carolina center fielder, rating Goodwin as the No. 5 prospect in the Nationals system.

Many Nationals fans hoped Goodwin might be the answer as a leadoff man for the franchise in the future, but Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt believes the former Tar Heel might be better placed in a different part of the order.

“I kind of see Goodwin as more of a No. 2 hitter or a No. 6 guy,” Fitt said. “I think he is a guy that is going to have a little bit of pop. He flashes a big bat in batting practice but his swing doesn’t really play that way in games. Certainly, he has got plus-plus speed. He plays well in the outfield and gets better on the basepaths. He is a five-tool guy. He can do a little bit of everything and, some cases, more than a little bit of everything.”

Fitt believes there is some work to do with Goodwin, as there would be with a lot of prospects, but he likes how the young outfielder possesses many different tools.

“The arm is still average-ish,” Fitt said. “It is not a standout arm, but it is not bad at certain plays. He has a chance of being a very good center fielder. The bat is a work in progress, but there is a lot to like there. He has got a good feel for the barrel and with some mechanical adjustments I think he could be a .280 to .300 hitter. (Goodwin) could be a guy that can help you a lot of different ways.

“There’s not a lot of true five-tool talents in the minor leagues and certainly not in this organization. I think he has the best all-around package of any prospect that they have got.”

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