Washington Nationals' outfield prospect Brian Goodwin and catcher Adrien Nieto were the only members of the Nats' organization in action Monday night in the Arizona Fall League. Nieto, 23, was 2 for 4 with a run scored. Goodwin, 22, helped the Mesa Solar Sox to a 7-6 win over the Scottsdale Scorpions with a 2 for 4, two double night in AFL action.
Spotlight: Brian Goodwin is the Nationals' 2011 1st Round pick, taken 34th overall out of Miami Dade South Community College in Miami, Florida, doubled in each of his first two at bats on Monday, scoring the Solar Sox' first run of the game after leading off the third with his second two-base hit. Goodwin was hit by left-handed New York Yankees' minor leaguer Vidal Nuno the third time up and then K'd swinging and grounded out in his final two at bats.
In three AFL games so far in 2013, Goodwin, who was the top outfield prospect in the Nationals' organization before this season according to Baseball America, is 5 for 14 (.357/.438/.500) with the two doubles, a walk and four Ks to start his second stint in the so-called "finishing school" for the game's top prospects. Goodwin was 19 for 80 with six doubles, two triples and three home runs for the Salt River Rafters in 2012 after a first pro season spent at Class-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg in the Nats' system which saw him post a combined .280/.384/.469 line with 26 doubles, two triples, 14 HRs and 18 stolen bases in 100 games and 452 plate appearances.
Nationals' Director of Player Development Doug Harris told MLB Network Radio hosts Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin last Spring that the team was impressed by Goodwin's development so they challenged him by moving the outfielder quickly from Low to Double-A.
"Part of the rationale behind that," Harris explained, "was he really had such a great feel for the strike zone and his approach was very simple. He had a compact short swing. Give him a chance to compete at that level."
Harris went on to say that Goodwin shows hints of all five tools at times. "He's a very good defender," Harris said. "He can throw, he can run, he's got some power and he's got a chance to be a top-of-the-lineup, leadoff-type guy." The Nationals, however, are going to give him time to develop.
"We're going to put him in a position to be successful when he gets to the big leagues," Harris told the show's hosts. "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."
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo called Goodwin a "prototypical speedy, defensive, top-of-the-order center field prospect," when the Nationals drafted him in June 2011, and a, "speedy top-of-the-order type of defensive center fielder that we think can lead off in the future." When Rizzo acquired Denard Span last winter, he too, like Harris, talked about the acquisition giving them time to properly develop the outfielders they have in the organization.
"We think we've got guys in the system that fill this role," Rizzo said. "But they're years away. They're in the pipeline and we're looking for big things from them down the road."
Goodwin started the 2013 campaign at Double-A Harrisburg. When he was named to the Easter League All-Star team, Senators' manager Matt Lecroy told MASN's Byron Kerr that the outfielder had improved all aspects of his game.
"''He has improved tremendously,'" Lecroy said. "'His outfield play has improved. His hitting is getting better each time he goes out and plays. He has cut down on his strikeouts.'"
Goodwin finished his second pro season with the Nats with a .252/.355/.407 line, 19 doubles, 11 triples, 10 HRs and 19 stolen bases in 122 games and 533 PAs with the Senators in which he walked 66 times and struck out 121 times. Is there another season at Double-A in the system in 2014 or a jump to Triple-A?
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