Nationals' Prospect Brian Goodwin 2 For 5 In Arizona On Thursday

Greg Fiume

The Washington Nationals' third 1st Round pick in 2011, Brian Goodwin, is the team's top-ranked outfield prospect on Baseball America's list and the Nats' top prospect overall according to MLB.com. Goodwin, 22, has a big year ahead of him in 2014...

"Scouts talk about five tools," Washington Nationals' Director of Player Development Doug Harris told MLB Network Radio hosts Mike Ferrin and Jim Duquette last spring in a conversaton about Brian Goodwin, "and he will show parts of all five of those on any given day." The scouts who wrote up MLB.com's latest report on the outfielder currently ranked as the Nats' no.1 overall prospect seem to agree. "There’s no question Goodwin posseses all five tools on the baseball field," they write. "All he needs to do is learn how to use them consistently."

"He's got surprising pop in his bat. He's a plus plus runner, plus plus defensive player, we think he can hit at the top of the order and lead off." - Mike Rizzo on Brian Goodwin, June '06

Goodwin, Washington's third 1st Round pick in 2011, put together a .280/.384/.469, 26 double, 14 HR campaign between Low-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg as a 21-year-old in 2012, then went to the Arizona Fall League where he was able to put up a .238/.340/.475 line with six doubles, two triples and three home runs in 20 games for the AFL's Salt River Rafters.

Nationals' General Manager Mike Rizzo talked when he acquired Denard Span from Minnesota last winter, in exchange for Goodwin's fellow 2011 1st Round pick RHP Alex Meyer, about believing that the 28-year-old Twins' outfielder gave Washington a plus defender, a prototypical leadoff man and more importantly a bridge to the next wave of talent coming up in the organization.

"We think we've got guys in the system that fill this role," Rizzo explained, "but they're years away. They're in the pipeline and we're looking for big things from them down the road."

"We think we've got guys in the system that fill this role, but they're years away. They're in the pipeline and we're looking for big things from them down the road." - Mike Rizzo on Nats' CF depth last winter

Harris talked specifically in his MLB Network Radio interview last February about Goodwin filling that role in the near future. The jump from Low-A to Double-A was designed to challenge the young outfielder, Harris explained, but the team was taking a deliberate approach to Goodwin's development.

"We're going to put him in a position to be successful when he gets to the big leagues," Harris said. "Having acquired Denard Span allows us a little more time to do that. He's got a chance to be a really exciting player when it's all said and done."

"Span’s arrival allows Washington the luxury of letting Goodwin develop at his own pace," MLB.com's scouting report concludes. Noting the comparisons already being made between Goodwin and Span, they also suggest that Goodwin, "... has more power potential than the center fielder the Nationals acquired this offsesason."

"We're going to put him in a position to be successful when he gets to the big leagues. Having acquired Denard Span allows us a little more time to do that." - Doug Harris on Brian Goodwin's development

In 122 games and 533 plate appearances in a full season at Double-A this year, Goodwin put up a .252/.355/.407 line with 19 doubles, 11 triples, 10 HRs and 19 stolen bases for the Harrisburg Senators.

Goodwin's 2 for 5 day in AFL action on Thursday left the now-22-year-old outfielder 12 for 39 (.308/.357/.359) so far in his second stint in the so-called "finishing school" for the game's top prospects. Goodwin has hits in eight of nine games so far, with two doubles for the Mesa Solar Sox. In his first at bat this afternoon, Goodwin singled, moved around the bases and scored on an RBI hit by 21-year-old Chicago Cubs' prospect Jorge Soler.

After singling to drive in a run in his second at bat, Goodwin was stranded at second base at the end of the second inning. He grounded out to end the third, struck out in the fifth and lined out to center to end the bottom of the seventh. Goodwin and the Solar Sox beat the visiting Scottsdale Scorpions, 7-4, and improved to 9-4 so far this fall.

In a profile by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo published today, Goodwin talked openly about the challenge of facing better competition as he moves up in the organization, and said his focus is on refining his game as he continues to develop. Denard Span is under contract for 2014 with a $9M club option for 2015 or a $500,000 buyout. The 2014 campaign will be a big one for both center fielders.

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