Photo: Ryan Young

50 in 50: Brian Goodwin

Draft : : Top Prospects
       
Published: Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Brian Goodwin
OF / Miami-Dade JC

Bats-Throws:                L-R
Height/Weight              6-1/190
Hometown:                   Rocky Mount, N.C.
Previously Drafted:       White Sox ’09 (17)
Birthdate:                     Nov. 2, 1990

SCOUTING PROFILE: Goodwin is unmistakably one of the elite athletes in the 2011 draft class, but his career to date has been marked by a number of twists and turns. His latest diversion has seen him spend his sophomore campaign at Florida’s Miami-Dade College after he was suspended in November for the 2011 season at North Carolina for violating university policy. He quickly emerged as the top prospect in the nation’s junior-college ranks and is a near-certain bet to be selected in the first round. That round appeared to be in the cards for Goodwin in 2009, as well, after he was named MVP of the 2008 Aflac All-American Game as a rising senior at Rocky Mount (N.C.) High. But he ended up sliding to the 17th round of that year’s draft when clubs couldn’t get a handle on his signability, and he ended up attending UNC. He hit .291-7-63 as a freshman for the Tar Heels, topping the team in RBIs, and followed up with a strong summer in the Cape Cod League. Goodwin appeared destined to be one of the top prospects in the 2012 draft if he stayed the course at UNC, but his decision to suddenly shift gears and enroll at Miami-Dade in January has made him eligible for the draft a year ahead of schedule. Goodwin’s superior athleticism and maturing baseball skills make him an obvious first-round candidate, no matter what the draft year. He has all the raw tools to excel in the big leagues, and his combination of hitting skills, emerging power, superior speed and stellar defense makes him one of the best all-around outfield prospects in the 2011 draft. Goodwin is a 6.5-second runner with outstanding range in center field. He also has one of the top outfield arms in the class. Offensively, Goodwin has a quick, effortless lefthanded swing and stays inside the ball with a level, line-drive type swing. His raw strength enables him to generate bat speed and drive balls into the gaps, although his present approach at the plate limits his loft power. Goodwin was hobbled this spring by a hamstring issue initially, impacting his speed on the bases and in the outfield, but his entire game picked up as he regained full health, and through 137 at-bats for Miami-Dade he was hitting .367-8-32 with 13 stolen bases in 15 attempts. He was stinging balls consistently late in April. Goodwin is far from a finished product, however, and scouts say he’ll need to continue to refine both his approach at the plate and defense in center field. More than anything, he needs to develop more consistent breaks on balls hit his way in order to settle in as an everyday center fielder. Goodwin spent his freshman season at UNC in right field and began the conversion to center field last summer on the Cape, before stepping right in at that position for Miami-Dade from the outset this spring. If teams are convinced he can play center field over the long haul, he will be an overwhelming favorite to be the first junior-college player drafted in June, though he tentatively plans to return to North Carolina for his junior year if the draft doesn’t work out for him. Because of his UNC connection, Goodwin has drawn some intriguing parallels to former Tar Heels outfielder Tyrell Godwin, another very athletic center fielder from eastern North Carolina, who passed up a first-round opportunity to sign with the New York Yankees in 1997 to play football at UNC, only for his career to never fully materialize as he juggled two sports and didn’t master either.

Projected Draft Position: Late first round.

--ALLAN SIMPSON

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