Nats' Goodwin headlines top performers in offseason Winter Leagues
Brian Goodwin ranked as the Nationals' No. 2 prospect headed into the 2013 season, trailing only Anthony Rendon for top honors within the organization.
Selected by the Nats with the No. 34 overall pick in the 2011 Draft, Goodwin appeared to be on the fast track to the Major Leagues after an impressive 2012 full-season debut in which he batted .280/.384/.469 with 14 home runs and 18 stolen bases between Class A Hagerstown and Double-A Harrisburg.
Since then, however, the 25-year-old outfielder has been unable to replicate that level of production, hitting just .219 with a .670 OPS at Triple-A Syracuse in 2014 before returning to Harrisburg this past season, where posted a .226/.290/.340 batting line in 114 games.
But after struggling in back-to-back years, the Nats' No. 24 prospect is quietly resuscitating his stock this offseason in the Venezuelan Winter League, hitting .356/.444/.535 with 11 extra-base hits through 27 games for Bravos de Margaritas. Goodwin has been white-hot of late, too, hitting a robust .559 (19-for-34) during his current nine-game hitting streak.
Here's a look at some of the other top prospects currently making waves in the offseason winter leagues.
• Alex Balog, RHP, Rockies - Balog, the club's No. 25 prospect, missed the first three months of the season with a groin strain but finished strong, posting a 3.71 ERA in 97 innings for Class A Advanced Modesto. The 23-year-old right-hander is making up for the lost time this offseason in the Australian Baseball League, where he's 4-1 (in six starts) and owns a league-leading 0.83 ERA over 32 2/3 innings for the Sydney Blue Sox.
• Justin Williams, OF, Rays - The Rays' No. 21 prospect is coming off a strong 2015 campaign in which he tallied a career-best seven home runs and 30 doubles in 122 games between Class A Bowling Green and Class A Advanced Charlotte. Williams, 20, has continued to rake this offseason in the ABL, hitting .384/.454/.605 with three home runs, eight doubles and 13 RBIs through 23 games for the Brisbane Bandits.
• Raul Mondesi, SS, Royals - After an inconsistent regular season in Double-A, the 20-year-old Mondesi made history by becoming the first player in baseball history to make his Major League debut during the World Series. The Royals' No. 1 prospect (No. 33 overall) is now getting some additional work in the Dominican Republic, where has two knocks in his first four contests for Tigres del Licey.
• Socrates Brito, OF, Diamondbacks - Brito, Arizona's No. 15 prospect, made developmental strides this past season at Double-A Mobile before batting .303 in 18 games with the Diamondbacks as a September callup. He's continued to swing a consistent bat this offseason in the Dominican Republic, batting .261 with a .774 OPS and four home runs in 27 games for Estrellas de Oriente.
• Adalberto Mejia, LHP, Giants - Mejia, the Giants' No. 12 prospect began the season on the restricted list after testing positive for a performing-enhancing substance but pitched well upon his return in early June, registering a 2.45 ERA in 51 1/3 innings at Double-A Richmond. The 22-year-old southpaw was added to the 40-man roster following a successful stint in the Arizona Fall League, and he's now tacking on more innings in the Dominican Republic. In his first start for Gigantes del Cibao this past week, Mejia allowed two earned runs and struck out five in five innings.
• Christian Villanueva, 3B, Cubs - Villanueva, the Cubs' No. 22 prospect, is enjoying a monstrous offseason for Yaquis de Obregon, hitting .358/.464/.500 with 11 extra-base hits and more walks (26) than strikeouts (16) through 42 games. The 24-year-old third baseman fared much better this past season in his second tour of the Pacific Coast League, batting .259/.313/.437 with 18 home runs and 88 RBIs in 123 games for Triple-A Iowa.
• Pat Light, RHP, Red Sox - Selected by Boston with the No. 37 overall Draft pick in 2012, Light finally made strides this season after moving to the bullpen from the starting rotation, posting a 3.88 ERA with five saves and 67 strikeouts (against 37 walks) in 62 2/3 innings between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. The Red Sox' No. 19 prospect -- who recently was added to the club's 40-man roster -- is working to refine his command this offseason in Puerto Rico, where he owns a 2.08 ERA with eight strikeouts through his first nine appearances for Criollos de Caguas.
• Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers - The Brewers' No. 1 prospect (No. 12 overall) excelled last offseason playing for Caribes de Anzoategui, setting the stage for a breakthrough 2015 campaign in which he batted .307/.347/.453 with eight home runs, 37 doubles, eight triples and 25 stolen bases for Double-A Biloxi. It's been more of the same this offseason for the 21-year-old shortstop, who's hitting .348 with an .850 OPS through 12 games for Caribes.
• Rangel Ravelo, 1B, Athletics - Ravelo, 23, suffered a wrist injury during Spring Training and subsequently underwent surgery, costing him all but 59 games during the 2015 season. However, the A's No. 17 prospect has looked plenty healthy this offseason in Venezuela, batting .390/.529/.610 with five home runs, seven doubles and 28 RBIs in 33 games for Cardenales de Lara. On top of that, Ravelo has 29 walks compared to only 12 strikeouts in that span.