Last week, there was all the discussion about the minor league top prospects. On Friday night, the Washington Nationals had two of MLB.com’s top 50 prospects in right-handed pitcher Lucas Giolito and outfielder Michael Taylor. ESPN’s Keith Law had the Nats as the ninth best farm system in all of baseball.
Today, I want to focus on the depth the team has in terms of two top outfield prospects. While Taylor is #42 according to MLB.com, including sixth on the top ten outfielders list, I want to focus on another player that is number nine on Baseball America’s list of the top ten prospects in the organization, outfielder Brian Goodwin.
Goodwin was the 34th pick by the Washington Nationals in the 2011 MLB Draft out of Miami-Dade college. While he is only 24-years old, Goodwin has had a solid minor league career up to this point, including being a MILB organization All-Star in 2012, when he made it up to double-A Harrisburg in his first professional season.
From 2012-2013, the left-handed hitting outfielder had decent numbers in Harrisburg, hitting .244 with 15 home runs and 54 RBI’s. Goodwin is known more for his speed. His 19 stolen bases in 2013 were second on the Harrisburg team, one behind Billy Burns and Steven Souza Jr and third in on-base percentage (.355).
Last season, Goodwin got the chance to play at triple-A for the Syracuse Chiefs. However, Goodwin struggled against more advanced pitching, hitting a mere .219 with four home runs and 32 RBI’s. He had a .342 on-base percentage and stole six bases in ten attempts.
Against lefties, Goodwin has been anything but stellar, hitting .193 in 31 at-bats. Nevertheless, getting on-base seems to be a habit with this prospect because he can work the count and get a free pass. His 50 walks last year in Syracuse were second behind Souza Jr. (52).
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When I compare these two outfield prospects, the one thing that is similar about them is the strikeouts. Michael Taylor had 130 strikeouts in 98 games for Harrisburg, but Goodwin also had a high K total. His 95 strikeouts in 81 games for Syracuse was second on the team, one behind Brandon Laird (96) for the team lead.
Taylor has better power as well with 22 home runs in double-A, but his power has not shone thru at either Syracuse or the Major League level with one home run in each. The 23-year old seems to be the better glove in the outfield, but both play some strong defense.
When I look at the speed portion of both players, the two outfielders each take an aggressive approach when it comes to stealing bases. stealing 34 bases in 42 attempts a season ago.
It is clear that Taylor is the center fielder of the future as of right now, but Goodwin has room to grow as well. In a farm system that is very deep in terms of pitching, Goodwin and Taylor are two of the best position players in the system.
If Goodwin can have a good season in Syracuse in 2015, he could be what Taylor is now, he could at the very least, become a good piece for the Nationals to trade to get a player that can help them win now. Regardless, the bat has to improve if Goodwin wants to find his way as a Top 100 prospect in the game.