Outfielder Brian Goodwin sometimes was very consistent at the plate last season for Double-A Harrisburg, but also struggled at times with strikeouts. He averaged .252 for 122 games but struck out 121 times.
He had 19 doubles, 11 triples, 10 homers and 19 stolen bases. He got off to a great start for Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .296, but still would love to cut down on the one strikeout per game average, with 22 punch outs in 19 in Arizona games.
His combination of speed and athletic ability is an asset in the Nationals system, and he is rated as the No. 3 Nats prospect according to Baseball America.
Baseball America national writer Aaron Fitt still has some questions regarding Goodwin, but recognizes the outfielder’s assets to the organization.
“Tough guy to really get a read on,” Fitt said. “I feel like certainly he has upside. But there are also question marks. Is the bat going to play at the elite level? I mean at this point there is reason to doubt that he is going to be an elite hitter. He is a great athlete. He can really run.
“He is not as good a defender in center field as you would think a guy with his speed would be. Doesn’t get the best reads. His arm is average. You know, it is good enough. But his instincts maybe hold him back from being that sensational defender in center field. He is not like a Michael Taylor out there. That is something that gives some people a little bit of pause.”
If Goodwin can improve his numbers at the plate and eliminate some of the strikeouts, he will be able to make some noise. Goodwin has concentrated on his on-base percentage and valuing his approach in each at-bat.
“Is he going to hit for average? I don’t know that he will,” Fitt said. “There is some swing and miss there. There is some timing issues with his swing. He has got a little bit of strength in his swing, but I don’t know if he will really be a power hitter. Maybe a guy that will hit you 10 or 15 homers, 15 or 20 at his peak, I think maybe 10 or 12 (homers) more likely, some triples and some doubles.
“If he is an average hitter, if he hits .260 or so in the big leagues, a little bit of power, a little bit of speed, there is value there. I am starting to wonder if he is really a star caliber talent and more of just kind of a fill in regular kind of a guy.”
Every season that Goodwin gains experience, he is a better player. Two years in the Arizona Fall League will help him with the pitching he sees this year, and the organization would love to see him maintain consistency in the outfield offensively and defensively. As the No. 3 prospect, he is important to outfield depth in the Nationals system.