Brian Goodwin has been a fan favorite ever since the Nationals drafted him. Always coveting a center fielder with speed who can hit, hit for power, get on base and has great range, Goodwin is working his way into that leadoff man of the future the Nats have been searching for in the draft.
Denard Span takes over this season with the big boys, but Goodwin made a big splash last season as he tore through low Single-A Hagerstown and made the rare two-level jump to Double-A Harrisburg. He continued his season with a strong showing in the Arizona Fall League.
Baseball America also has him ranked very high, as its No. 3 Nats prospect.
"He is a guy that has power, he has speed, he can defend and he can throw. He can be that five-tool guy," said Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt. "I think he can be a Curtis Granderson type of guy. If not a Granderson, then a 23- to 25-homer guy. He has got some things he still needs to work on, but I think he can be an impact player."
The comparison to the Yankees' center fielder is a lofty one, but exciting one to think about for Nats fans. Both Granderson and Goodwin are 6-foot-1 and 195 lbs., throw right and bat left. Granderson has hit 210 homers with close to 600 RBIs and 114 stolen bases in 1,126 major league games.
Goodwin has worked hard on his offense and showed promising numbers this season. After hitting .324 for the Suns, Goodwin finished the season with a .280 average in 100 minor league games. His on-base percentage dropped from .438 to .306 with the Senators.
He then had 11 extra-base hits in 20 games for the Salt River Rafters in Arizona. His OPS was steady at .815, closer to the .852 OPS he had in the regular season. He also worked a ton on his bunting in fall league competition, which should help him use his speed to get on base more often next season.
And there is no hurry to get Goodwin to D.C. But judging from last season, Goodwin is using his speed to climb the Nats organizational ladder at a good pace.