Left-handed-hitting Brian Goodwin made a big jump last season from low Single-A Hagerstown to Double-A Harrisburg. The 22-year-old continued his baseball education in the Arizona Fall League and was a standout in the Rising Stars game. Goodwin homered, doubled and had two RBIs in the East's 9-4 win over the West.
Harrisburg manager Matt Lecroy said the number of reps, at-bats and games Goodwin played last season against good competition were invaluable in the youngster's quest to get to the majors.
"His biggest thing is playing time and playing experience at the Double-A level. Hopefully, (we'll) be able to move him up to the Triple-A and then to the big leagues," Lecroy said.
The Nationals' focus with Goodwin is to get the most out of his speed game, stealing bases and bunting to get on base.
"I think his baserunning is the big thing that he needs to work on," Lecroy said. "I think he did a good job on it at the end of the year, stealing bases, getting reads, being his own coach. As far as hitting-wise, he was not relying on the coaches on basepaths and that comes from playing. He was actually playing at a level higher than he should have been and he handled it really well. He made some really good adjustments."
Goodwin showed the coaching staff in October he was making progress.
But getting on base by bunting is paramount to improving his on-base percentage. Bunting is another opportunity to get that speed on first base so Goodwin can create havoc.
"The one thing he will work on is his bunting," Lecroy said. "I think if he can get his bunting down - that will be one other aspect to help him, because he has every tool. He is a great kid and has great makeup. He will help our big league team at some point.
Lecroy said the coaching staff has concentrated on how Goodwin can utilize his great speed and take advantage of a pitcher's move.
"The baserunning is something he wants to get better at," Lecroy continued. "I believe working with (former Nationals outfielder coordinator and current first base coach) Tony Tarasco and (new outfield/base running coordinator) Gary Thurman in the Arizona Fall League and spring training is going to be great."
Here is more from Goodwin on how Goodwin felt this fall.
Lecroy said bunting is one of the few tools that Goodwin needs reps to improve, because he has pretty much everything else in the package necessary to be a big leaguer.
"So the way he handles his bat, to me, will open up a lot more holes for him hitting-wise and a way to get him some better numbers," Lecroy said. "It will help the organization win. I think everyone wins when he learns how to bunt."