The Nationals promoted both Brian Goodwin and Eury Perez last night, bumping two of their top outfield prospects a step closer to the major leagues. Perez moved from Class AA Harrisburg to Class AAA Syracuse, while Goodwin bypassed high-A and went from Class A Hagerstown straight to Harrisburg.
Goodwin, 21, could be the Nationals’ best overall prospect. In 216 at-bats at Hagerstown, Goodwin hit .324/.438/.542 with nine home runs and 15 stolen bases. He will be the youngest player on Harrisburg’s roster.
The National felt Goodwin could skip Class A Potomac before of his mature and advanced offensive game.
“We feel like he has a very consistent, simple approach at the plate,” Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said. “He has a short, efficient swing. He’s shown very good recognition of the strike zone. We recognize there will be a learning curve, but we feel he’ll be ready for that.”
The Nationals drafted Goodwin with the 34th pick in 2011 and signed him to a $3 million bonus. Many within the organization believe Goodwin would have been a top 5 pick this season, and potentially first overall, if he had stayed at Miami-Dade College for another year.
Goodwin’s quick ascension could cause a ripple in the Nationals’ offseason outlook. They have been searching for a long-term solution in centerfield, and several prominent free agents, especially the Braves’ Michael Bourn, could fit that bill. But if Goodwin proves he’s close to the majors, it may factor into how large a commitment the Nationals are willing to make in free agency. The player Goodwin is most frequently compared to, coincidentally, is Bourn.
Perez, still just 22, remains on the edges of that conversation, too. After a slow start, Perez hit .300/.326/.343 at Harrisburg with 26 steals in 350 at-bats. He must improve his plate discipline – Perez drew seven walks and struck out 53 times – but his athleticism gives him a chance to make the majors.