Goodman shows glimpse of Rockies future

September 1st, 2023

This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter, where reporter Manny Randhawa filled in this week. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

He’s good, man.

That was evident when he hit .371/.418/.903 with six doubles and nine home runs in 15 games for Triple-A Albuquerque after posting an .848 OPS with 25 homers for Double-A Hartford earlier this year.

The stellar overall performance earned Hunter Goodman, the Rockies' No. 12-ranked prospect per MLB Pipeline, a callup to the Show last Sunday. Not bad for a guy whom the Rockies drafted in the fourth round just two years ago out of the University of Memphis.

It’s been less than a week in the big leagues for the 23-year-old first baseman/catcher/outfielder, but as they say: So far, so good.

“I’ve been trying to tell myself to just enjoy the moment,” Goodman said. “Just keep playing the same game you’ve been playing all your life.”

It seems Goodman has the right idea. He’s got a long road ahead of him, and four games are just that: four games. But getting off to a good start isn’t a bad thing -- all Goodman has done in those first four contests is hit .357 (5-for-14) with a double and a triple.

That includes his first Major League hit, an RBI single during last Sunday’s 4-3 win over the Orioles in Baltimore. He put the finishing touches on a great debut by making a diving catch at first base to end the game.

Throughout it all, Goodman has had the humble look of a man who knows he’s good, who knows he belongs. He always seems to have a slight smile on his face whenever he’s on the field, no matter what the situation as if the bright lights and inevitable butterflies in the rookie’s stomach are no match for what he knows about himself.

But the poise he’s shown in his first few games has to do with more than just being cognizant of his abilities.

“Yeah, I think I’m pretty confident,” Goodman said. “But I’ve really just been trying to go out there and have fun, and not worry about the results. Because this is what you’ve dreamed of -- just go out there and enjoy it.”

Goodman wants to be able to look back on his Major League career and say, “Good times.” But the good times come at a price, and that price is the work it takes to be the best of the best just to get to this point. He’s been aiming for the moment he’s in right now since he was in grade school.

“I knew what I wanted to be at a very young age,” Goodman said. “I remember in elementary school, when they asked you what you want to be when you grow up, that was my answer.”

Could Goodman be part of the answer for the rebuilding Rockies? Now alongside rising young players like shortstop Ezequiel Tovar and outfielder Nolan Jones, will his prodigious power in the Minors -- from a swing reminiscent of Justin Turner’s -- translate to the Majors?

Between Goodman, Jones and perhaps an as-of-yet unknown slugger or two to be named later, could we be witnessing a new batch of Blake Street Bombers still in its embryonic stages?

Only time will tell. But it’s an interesting thought exercise, especially since Colorado has lately lacked the type of slugging capability of the men who gave birth to the nickname nearly 30 years ago -- over the past two seasons, only six teams have hit fewer homers than the Rockies’ 282.

“I think that’s the hope for every hitter that comes up here,” Goodman said. “I mean, you hear about those guys (Larry Walker, Andres Galarraga, Dante Bichette, Vinny Castilla and Ellis Burks) all the time, all the noise they made and all the success they had here. So yeah, that would be really cool if you could somewhat try and be like that.”

If a few years from now, Goodman and friends are somewhat like the original Blake Street Bombers, there are some good times ahead, indeed.