Brian Goodwin: Checking in on the Nationals’ No. 7 prospect


Nov 2, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Brian Goodwin against the West during the Fall Stars Game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One of the benefits of the offseason is that it gives us the opportunity to reflect on last season and look forward to next year and beyond – a future that will undoubtedly be shaped not only by the team’s current big league stars, but also by the youngsters that are working their way up the minor league ladder.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be counting down the Nationals’ Top-10 prospects (as ranked by and breaking down what they have accomplished so far in their young professional careers. We will also predict if and when they will be ready to contribute at the big league level and where we expect to see them in 2015.

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Some of these names are well-known throughout the baseball world, while others are players that you may never have heard of before. Regardless of how prominent these players are in the ever-evolving world of the game’s rising stars, all of them will have an impact on the future of the Nationals and it’s important to monitor their progress as they continue on their path to the big leagues.

Earlier this week, we continued our series with right-hander Austin Voth and third baseman Drew Ward, the team’s No. 9 and No. 8 prospects, respectively. Next up on our list is Washington’s No. 7 prospect, outfielder Brian Goodwin.

The Nationals selected Goodwin out of Miami-Dade College with the 34th overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft and the outfielder immediately began his climb up the Nationals’ farm system.

In his first professional season in 2012, Goodwin batted .324 with nine home runs and 38 RBIs for Class A Hagerstown. Later that year, the outfielder earned a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg, where he hit .223 with five home runs in 42 games.

Having climbed to the team’s Double-A affiliate in just one season, Goodwin was already capturing the attention of scouts and fans alike, many of whom were confident that Goodwin was the Nationals’ center fielder of the future.

Goodwin continued to improve in 2013 – his second season at Harrisburg – batting .252 with 10 home runs and 40 RBIs in 122 games. Goodwin also played great defense in center field, recording five assists and posting a .982 fielding percentage.

Goodwin’s success continued later that year in the Arizona Fall League, where he posted a .296/.333/.444 line with four doubles, a triple, two home runs and three stolen bases in 88 ABs.

With his solid season at Double-A and dominant performance in the Arizona Fall League, Goodwin appeared to be on the fast track to the big leagues. The outfielder was rewarded for his success with a promotion to Triple-A Syracuse in 2014.

But Goodwin’s momentum hit a major speed bump at Triple-A, as the young outfielder struggled to adjust to the game’s best minor league pitching. In 81 games with Syracuse, Goodwin hit just .219 with four home runs and 32 RBIs. He especially struggled against left-handed pitching, batting just .193 against southpaws and .231 against right-handers.

Goodwin’s struggles at Triple-A prompted to lower his stock among the Nationals’ top prospects, as Goodwin fell from No. 3 to No. 7 over the course of the 2014 season.

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Needless to say, the 2014 season was one to forget for Goodwin. But despite his struggles at Syracuse last season, there’s no reason to believe that the 24-year-old outfielder won’t rebound in 2015.

Goodwin is extremely athletic and his plus speed on the base paths could be a big help for the Nationals from the leadoff spot at the big league level. When he’s right, Goodwin also has the ability to hit to all fields and has decent pop.

Goodwin will likely see action at the big league level in 2015 and if he is able to regain some consistency with the bat, he may very well become the Nationals’ everyday center fielder once Denard Span becomes a free agent next winter. It won’t be easy, however, as fellow prospect Michael Taylor has surpassed Goodwin in the Nationals’ depth charts at center field and may be a better option at the position long-term for the Nationals.

Check back here this week as we continue our Washington Nationals top-10 prospects countdown with first baseman Matthew Skole, the team’s No. 6 prospect.