You probably know by the leading question in the headline which way I'm going with this.
On Monday, the Washington Nationals sent OF Brian Goodwin back to the minors, along with several others -- some with big league experience.
Patrick provided Goodwin's vitals in his post about the moves:
Goodwin, 25, and a Nats' 2011 1st Round pick, played at Double-A Harrisburg last season after an injury-shortened 2014 campaign, putting up a .226/.290/.340 line with 17 doubles, four triples and eight home runs in 114 games and 472 PAs for the Senators. He was 3 for 11 (.273/.400/.273) with three walks and four Ks in eight games this Spring.
It's a little misleading referring to Goodwin as a first round pick, though technically he was. He was a compensation pick, so he was selected after the "normal" first round ended, 34th overall. Goodwin was the last of three first round picks for the Nats in that draft, after Anthony Rendon (No. 6 overall) and Alex Meyer (No. 23 overall).
Goodwin made several top prospect lists in 2013 and 2014, but then the luster wore off.
He was a guy that looked like he had all the tools. Goodwin was (is) a fabulous athlete, can run, and possessed a short, swift stroke that made good contact with some pop. On top of all that, in college and his first couple of minor league seasons, he really displayed a talent for on-base skills.
I personally saw him play several times in his first year of pro ball in 2012 when he was with Low-A Hagerstown and he was a rarity in the low minors -- a hitter that controlled the pace of the at bats, not the pitcher. He worked the count until he got what he wanted, not swinging freely or expanding his strike zone like many young hitters do when they are trying to impress.
That season, Goodwin hit .324/.438/.542 in 266 plate appearances before the Nats moved him up to AA Harrisburg. It seemed curious for him to jump High-A Potomac, but Potomac traditionally had problems with drainage on their field and the previous season Bryce Harper made the same leap. The Nats didn't want to risk injury so they promoted Goodwin two levels. Besides, he looked like he could handle it.
He hasn't been the same.
He only hit .223/.306/.373 the rest of the way in Double-A, then got hurt. For the next two seasons, he fought through a variety of injuries and watched his on-base, contact and power rates all decline.
He was so bad in Syracuse in 2014 (.219/.342/.328, 329 PAs) that the Nats moved him back to Harrisburg in 2015 and he did even worse as his stats showed above.
He's still on the 40-man roster, but at this point it looks like it's gonna take some kind of miracle for something to click in Goodwin to see him even tap into his potential, much less fulfill it.
Prospects will break your heart sometimes.