Brian Goodwin started the 2014 campaign as the highest-ranked outfielder in the Washington Nationals' system after an impressive season at Double-A Harrisburg in which the 25-year-old, 2011 first-round pick posted a .252/.355/.407 line with 19 doubles, 11 triples, 10 home runs, 66 walks and 121 strikeouts in 122 games and 533 plate appearances.
Baseball America's Aaron Fitt listed Goodwin among a group of players including A.J. Cole, Robbie Ray, Nate Karns and Steven Souza who, he thought, "... could contribute in Washington soon."
Goodwin struggled in 2014, however, and ended up playing just 81 games at Triple-A Syracuse before he suffered a torn labrum which required season-ending surgery.
In 329 plate appearances, the outfielder put up a .219/.342/.328 line with 10 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 50 walks and 95 Ks.
Assistant General Manager and VP of Player Personnel Doug Harris talked that winter about Goodwin's continued development in an MLB Network Radio interview.
"The struggles that he's had have been tied to his approach," Harris said. "It's really getting him in the proper position with his approach to attack the ball on a consistent basis."
"He was starting to get it going just before he injured himself last year," Harris added.
"And we're taking steps as we speak to harness that approach and we're going to continue to grind it out. He's a young man with a lot of talent, can do a lot of different things within the game it's just a matter of putting him in a position to execute pitch to pitch."
Nats' GM Mike Rizzo talked about that talent when the Nationals selected Goodwin out of Miami-Dade College with the 34th overall pick in 2011.
"He's a guy with five tools," Rizzo said. "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 shown a propensity to have a high on-base percentage, and he's a guy who's not afraid to take a walk and steal a base. He's your prototypical speedy, defensive, top-of-the-order center field prospect."
Jim Callis of MLB.com talked to MASNSports.com's Byron Kerr about the outfielder last winter, explaining then that Goodwin was projecting as more of a fourth outfielder.
"I saw him in high school and at North Carolina, talked with scouts when he was with Miami-Dade (College), there is a lot of tantalizing stuff there," Callis said.
"There has been some refinement, but there hasn't been enough refinement. There hasn't been enough improvement."
Goodwin returned to Double-A this past season, posting a .226/.290/.340 line with 17 doubles, four triples, eight home runs, 38 walks and 93 Ks in 114 games and 429 PAs.
He headed to the Venezuelan Winter League after his fourth minor league season came to an end, and as MLB.com's Mike Rosenbaum noted today, Goodwin has impressed, putting up a .356/.444/.535 line with seven doubles, a triple, three home runs, 16 walks and 18 Ks in 27 games.
Goodwin, he wrote, "is quietly resuscitating his stock this offseason," with the Bravos de Margarita, and, "... has been white-hot of late, too, hitting a robust .559 (19-for-34) during his current nine-game hitting streak."
Can the 2011 1st Round pick work his way back into the prospect picture this season? Goodwin's fallen out of BA's Top 10 in the last few seasons and he's currently outside of MLB.com's Top 20 list of the Nationals' prospects.
Is he a candidate for a trade to someone who's still enticed by his tools? What does the future hold for the outfielder?
[ed. note - "We put the * in the intro blurb so we can all play a fun game together. No matter what you say, or how many times you say it, someone will post a comment below or on the Twitter/Facebook noting that you can't put any stock in Winter League numbers. Wait for it and we can all celebrate/laugh together when someone inevitably points that out."]