Down on the Farm: Checking in on the Nationals’ Top-10 Prospects

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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

No. 7: Brian Goodwin, CF – TBD

The Nationals selected Brian 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.

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.

With his solid season at Double-A, 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.

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.