Brian Goodwin’s 13 home runs in 74 games and 278 plate appearances in Washington in 2017 were one shy of his previous season high, which he set over 100 games and 452 PAs between Low-A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg in 2012, and 119 games and 492 PAs at Triple-A Syracuse in 2016.
He is not, however, confusing himself with the other power hitters around the majors.
“I don’t really get too big on the homers or power or anything like that,” Goodwin said last month, when he spoke with reporters at WinterFest in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in the nation’s capital.
“I’m not going to hit 50 like [Aaron] Judge,” he joked. “I just take the consistency. Take consistent numbers, do what I do over and over and over and over until I can’t do it no more.”
Goodwin, 27, and a 2011 Nationals’ first round pick, put up a .251/.313/.498 line with the 13 home runs, 21 doubles, and six stolen bases in a 0.5 fWAR campaign that was interrupted by a groin injury that struck while the outfielder was getting consistent starts with Michael A. Taylor injured and unavailable from early July to mid-August.
Though he battled his way back for the postseason and was included on the Nationals’ roster for the NLDS, Goodwin saw limited action against the Chicago Cubs. Just being able to get back meant a lot to the outfielder, however.
“It was just a battle, man,” he admitted. “It was devastating,” he said of the injury and the timing of it.
“Clearly I wasn’t in the best mood,” Goodwin acknowledged, “but I think it pushed me to do what I had to and get back for my guys and my team, and for myself, because I knew how important that postseason potentially was and it was to my teammates.”
He also said he didn’t take much solace in the fact that he put up respectable numbers in the at bats he did get in the majors. Twelve of his doubles, and seven of 13 HRs were hit in the time he was playing regularly with Taylor on the DL, but as he said, it was still a small sample size.
“It’s nice to look at,” Goodwin said.
“But other than that it’s a small sample size. It’s not really a full season or anything, it doesn’t guarantee anything. I know I still have a lot of work to do, a lot of time to put in and get where I want to be. If anything it just pushes me to want to do better.”
Goodwin and some of the other Nationals who came up in the organization will be reunited with Joe Dillon, who was the hitting coach at Triple-A Syracuse in 2014-15, and returns to serve as the Assistant Hitting Coach on Dave Martinez’s staff.
Goodwin said he was excited to work with Dillon again.
“He was my hitting coach, so we spent a lot of time together,” Goodwin explained.
“I was always in the cage, and he was always right there with me. We can go back on a lot of stuff that I probably forgot that he remembers, and stuff that I remember that he forgot, so it will be good to catch up and see where we both stand and continue to push forward.”
Dillon said he was watching from afar as Goodwin broke through last season and got regular at bats in the majors for the first time.
“Any time a guy makes it it’s obviously very satisfactory as a coach,” Dillon said.
“ was my first year coaching,” he continued. “We spent a lot of time together.
“It was [Goodwin’s] first year in Triple-A, and obviously he’s talented physically, and back then he was just learning what made his swing click and his approach, but obviously he had some skills that stood out, that I know that the organization really liked, and it was nice to see those things come to fruition and [see] him mature into a major league player, and be able to contribute last year. It was awesome to see from a distance.”
Goodwin was asked if there anything in particular he was working on or wanted to improve for the 2018 campaign.
“Not really,” he said. “Nothing in particular. I think I just always try to be better than I was the year before at every aspect. So whatever that includes, all those columns you all fill out every day. I try to be good at all that stuff. Interviews.”