Nationals prospect Brian Goodwin has been pleased with his progress in the Arizona Fall League, especially in bunting and increasing his aggressiveness on the basepaths.
"I think it is coming along well," Goodwin said. "It is something that I always looked at it as a weapon, being a speed guy and a top-of-the-order guy. You have to take your time with it. You can't get frustrated. But with the practice you do it will pay off and take it to the game. I like it. I always try to work on it from high school to now. If I can use it in a game with success it will only make me better."
Goodwin said his weakness right now is bunting to first: "It is a little tough, a little different, but I am working on it."
And that goes with hitting, too. Goodwin is batting .239 in the AFL, but has a slugging percentage of .493 and has two hits, four runs and two RBIs in his last three games for the Salt River Rafters.
"I am trying to stay within myself and play my game and try not to get too far out there, just let it come to me," Goodwin said. "Patience at the plate goes a long way, looking for a spot or zone and you get it you need to make sure you don't miss it. Put a good swing on it - that is my mentality at the plate right now. Let them come to you, let them make he mistake."
Goodwin credits the coaching staff with helping him with that patience in hitting and defense. Low Single-A Hagerstown hitting coach Mark Harris and Double-A Harrisburg hitting coach Eric Fox instilled those fundamentals in his swing.
"(Harris) and I sat down every day and worked on stuff," Goodwin said. "About my swings, talking about situations. It helps you to learn your swing and then pick his brain, gaining more knowledge from his experience. Fox in Harrisburg is a great dude, he is great to talk to about hitting."
Outfield coordinator Tony Tarasco has also worked with Goodwin on outfield defense, footwork, set-up and speed to the ball.
"We work on some drills in the outfield, like starting shallow and shagging balls with your teammates in batting practice. That is something you cannot take for granted. It has to be apart of it to get better," Goodwin explained.
"Even in the games you are lucky to see three or four balls off the bat in the outfield. That would be a good game to see three or four putouts in the outfield. Tarasco said you need to work on it during batting practice as much as you can. We have an all-around great staff. We are really in some good hands."
Coming off a rare two-level jump last year, Goodwin is not concerning himself with what level he will play at next season. He just wants to play.
"Wherever the team decides that they need me, that is where I will go," Goodwin said. "I can't be picky I just want to play, man. I just want to get on the field and play. So whatever plans they have for me, then that is what it is. I am going to just let that happen. I am just going to work hard."
And in response to a fan's query about nicknames and a suggestion that "Johnny B. Goode" might be good nickname for the outfielder, Goodwin said he liked the idea and may use it himself. He said he has been called "B. Good" or "Goodie" for as long as he can remember, but never "Johnny B. Goode". But he liked the idea. Chuck Berry probably likes that idea, too.