Goodwin displaying “special talent” that got him Double-A nod

It is rare for a player to jump two levels or more with any organization. The last time it happened for the Nationals, it was No. 1 overall prospect Bryce Harper last summer.

This time, it is sensational outfielder Brian Goodwin.

The 6-foot-1, 195 lb. center fielder rolled through low Single-A Hagerstown with a big bat, fast feet and quick hands on defense. Goodwin hit .324 in 58 games with 18 doubles, one triple, nine homers, 38 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and 43 walks. And as a leadoff hitter, Goodwin also netted a stunning .438 on-base percentage, wreaking havoc on so many opposing starters.

Goodwin, 21, missed games early in the season with a quad injury, but picked up where he left off and then some when he got back in the lineup.

Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said the 2011 No. 34 overall selection got the call to jump past high Single-A Potomac because he has that all-around talent and makeup they look for in a baseball player.

And as Harris always looks for, Goodwin is a kid who has displayed a solid work ethic day in and day out, from his rehab from injury to his fiery demeanor on the field (which is valued every at-bat so much that he got tossed twice for disagreeing with a close call from the home plate umpire).

“He is a very special talent,” Harris said. “On the offensive side, he has a short, efficient swing. He has a very simple approach. He has a really nice feel for the strike zone and he can control the strike zone on a consistent basis.”

Then, there is the more important quotient in this “Moneyball” era of baseball: makeup. And that is not the stuff you put on your face to make you look nicer on camera.

“The other part (of the equation) in this is makeup,” Harris continued. “(Goodwin) is a very mature young man regarding his day-to-day approach to the game and how he processes and absorbs information. The combination of all these things are the key components when you are moving a player forward.”

It is a significant moment for the franchise, as well, because if Goodwin can show he can handle pitching and play well with all the best prospects in baseball, that could go a long way in solving the coveted leadoff hole the Nationals have sought for at least the past five seasons.

Although he went 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in his first two games with the Senators, it is a good time to give Goodwin a chance to prove what he can do at a high level, and he has the rest of July and then August to display those talents at Double-A.

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