Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Twin of the Future? - Niko Goodrum

Niko Goodrum is far from an elite prospect.  He was a 2nd round pick in 2010 out of a high school in Georgia.  Baseball America and Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus both listed Goodrum as the 19th best prospect in what is generally considered a weak Twins farm system.  Aaron Gleeman listed him 16th and Seth Stohs listed him 19th.  Jonathan Mayo of did not have him in his top 20 and Keith Law did not have him in his top 10 (which really should not surprise you if you read the previous few sentences). The rankings are not exciting, but at the same time, I can't help but have an interest in this particular player. 

I am not going to pretend that I have seen any more of Goodrum than a few YouTube clips, but I will say that what I have read about him has me intrigued.  He is listed at 6' 3" and 175 lbs.  He is only 20 years old, so he will likely add some size.  If he can, the height could help produce some powerful swings.  He has a very strong arm and according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, he is a hard worker, which we all know goes a lot way in this organization (probably all others too).  The fact that he runs well could result in a player that plays up the middle, can steal some bases and hit for some power.  That kind of player has immense value.

However, his projectable size could work against him as well.  If he fills out too much, he may slow down and lose range.  If that happens, he may have to move off of short.  There is also the possibility that he never fills out and doesn't hit enough to play any position.  In addition, Goodrum is somewhat old for rookie ball, and his stats aren't eye-popping for a player repeating a level.  Frankly, his numbers aren't that exciting for a player in his first year at that level.  His numbers point toward decent to good on-base skills, with little power.  His K:BB ratio is good, but it is hard for me to know how much that represents a more patient hitter or an inexperienced set of pitching staffs.  His walk rate has increased from last year, and he deserves credit for that.

I have read that some think he may be a future centerfielder, which could be great.  Personally, I think that third base could be a landing spot, especially if he does add some power to his game.  He clearly has the arm strength for that position and working hard to learn the position seems like something he would be willing to do.  The nice thing is that he does seem to be a player who will be versatile enough in the field to find a home, as he was working a bit at second base last year as well.

I would think that Goodrum would go to Beloit next year, as a 21 year old entering his third full pro season.  The odds of seeing Goodrum in Minnesota before 2015 are pretty small.  In fact, there are pretty good odds that he never gets to Minnesota at all.  That is just the way of the minor league world though.  Most minor leaguers don't get to the Majors.  In fact, most minor leaguers aren't prospects at all, for this very reason.  As far as I am concerned, there are two types of minor league players.  There are guys with upside and guys without upside.  Niko Goodrum has upside, which makes him a prospect and makes him interesting to me.  

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