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AFL Update: Washington Nationals' 2011 1st Round Pick Brian Goodwin Tearing Up Arizona

The Washington Nationals had high praise for Brian Goodwin when they drafted the outfielder out of Miami Dade College with the 34th pick of the 1st Round of the 2011 Draft. After a strong season at Low A and Double A in the Nats' system, Goodwin's continuing to produce in the Arizona Fall League.

Greg Fiume

Brian Goodwin had a .382 AVG and a .492 OBP as a sophomore at Miami Dade College in 2011 before the Rocky Mount, North Carolina-born and raised 6'1'', 195 lb, left-handed hitting and right-handed throwing outfielder was selected by the Washington Nationals with the 34th pick of the 2011 Draft.

After a year at UNC, Goodwin, (who had been drafted by the Chicago White Sox out of high school but didn't sign), transferred to Miami Dade and hit 11 doubles, two triples and eight home runs in 47 games in which he stole 16 bases in 18 attempts and drove in 37 runs while scoring 42 on the year. Nats' GM Mike Rizzo was impressed with what he saw from the then 20-year-old outfielder who will turn 22 this November.

"He's a guy with five tools," Rizzo told reporters on the night of the 2011 Draft, "We see him as a top of the order table-setter with some power. 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."

"He's your prototypical speedy, defensive, top-of-the-order center field prospect," the Nationals' general manager explained. Goodwin signed for a $3M dollar bonus in August of 2011. At the introductory press conference in the nation's capital, Goodwin's agent Scott Boras was asked to describe the outfielder as a player, and he asked reporters, including the Washington Post's Adam Kilgore, a question in return, "'You seen Michael Bourn?'"

Goodwin started his pro career at Class-A Hagerstown, posting a .324/.438/.542 line over 58 games and 266 PAs in which the 21-year-old outfielder hit 18 doubles and nine home runs while stealing 15 bases in 19 attempts and walking more than he struck out (43 BB, 39 Ks). Goodwin was promoted to Double-A Harrisburg in late July, skipping High-A ball, and he struggled to adjust at first as Nationals' Director of Player Development Doug Harris had predicted, but the Nats were still impressed with what they saw from the first-year pro.

"'He has had very competitive at-bats on a daily basis,'" Harris told the Rocky Mountain Telegram's Matt Lawell in a late-August article, "'He has hit a lot of balls hard that he doesn’t have a lot to show for.'" Goodwin had a .223/.306/.373 line after 42 games and 186 PA's at Double-A, hitting eight doubles and five home runs for the Senators to end his first season in the Nats' system with a combined .280/.384/.469 line, 26 doubles, 14 HRs and 18 stolen bases.

After his first year in the organization, Goodwin was ranked as the top outfield prospect in the Nats' system by The Nationals decided to send the outfielder to the Arizona Fall League this year, where, after a 2 for 4, two triple, two walk game on Saturday night, Goodwin has a .349/.440/.744 line with four doubles, two triples and three home runs in 11 games and 43 at bats in the so-called "finishing school" for MLB's top prospects.

One "National League scout"'s Bill Ladson talked to earlier this month predicted that Goodwin, "... will be in the Major Leagues by the middle of next year [2013]," and, Mr. Ladson wrote, the, "... scout didn't rule out Goodwin playing left or center field for the Nationals," who have two outfield spots set for 2013 with Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth penciled in barring any setbacks or hiccups this winter or spring.

High praise for an outfielder with one year of pro ball on his resume.