Now playing left field for the Los Angeles Angels… Brian Goodwin! Brian Goodwin? Wait, what? Where did he come from?
Left field for the Los Angeles Angels has been relatively shored up since Justin Upton arrived in August of 2017. Funny how one turf toe injury can throw you right back to where you started.
The Los Angeles Angels were forced to make a move on March 27th, claiming Goodwin over other in-house choices to platoon with the returning Angel Peter Bourjos. But, how did Goodwin become a choice at all?
Well, professionally it started with the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft… twice. In 2009, the Chicago White Sox made a pick in the 17th round named Brian Christopher Goodwin out of Rocky Mount High School in North Carolina. In 2011, after a two seasons at Miami-Dade Community College, he was selected again by the Washington Nationals in the first round with the 34th overall pick.
“B-Good” played 575 games in the minors with teams like the Mesa Solar Sox and Salt River Rafters. Oh, and he got a cool nickname. He made the AFL All-Prospect Team in 2013, after being a AFL Player of the Week in October, MiLB.com Organization All-Star(WSH), and AFL Rising Stars MVP in 2012.
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Four years later he would get his call; after becoming an International League Mid-Season All-Star with the Syracuse Chiefs in 2016. In 22 games with the Nationals Goodwin hit .286 with five RBIs. He played 74 more games in 2017 with the Nationals hitting .251 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs.
The Royals then acquired Goodwin on July 22nd, 2018. Washington received a right-hander named Jacob Condra-Bogan. Goodwin called his departure from Washington “bittersweet”, because he enjoyed his time in the Nation’s Capital, but he would now get an opportunity to play every day in Kansas City.
B-Good was finally playing versus righties, versus lefties, nearly every day… then he got injured. Luckily for the Angels, he became disposable for Kansas City after a poor Spring.
Since arriving in Los Angeles, Goodwin has been in the top 10 in the AL in batting average, has hit game-tying and go-ahead homers, and been a virtual spark plug at times for the Halo offense. A needed spark considering the team is missing reigning AL Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani and former All-Star Outfielder Justin Upton from the lineup.
Royals Report @royals_fanly tweeted out a nice article about Brian Goodwin done by the Kansas City Star newspaper.
It may not sound like a huge gaping hole or two, but Ohtani hit very well in only a part-time dual role from the left side of the plate, a role Justin Bour has yet to really fill despite numerous opportunities early on. Which brings us back to why Goodwin replacing Upton is so vital to the Angels ability to compete in a deep AL West. Peter Bourjos can play defense, run the bases well, and even give you an occasional bunt or sacrifice in timely spots… but he simply cannot hit.
Bourjos is not even the guy at the plate that Angels fans remember pushing Mike Trout into left as an emerging ML prospect back when the Angels had practically none (10th Round pick in 2005 draft by LAA). Eventually, Bourjos was moved to fill another gap in exchange for former World Series MVP for the Cardinals at third, David Freese. Even at his best, Bourjos hit 12 home runs, 11 triples, and had an almost 4 WAR with a .272 clip in 2011 back when he was just 24 years old.
Now? Bourjos is 32, lingering in a nonexistent average, and has endured painfully short stops in St.Louis, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Atlanta. Bourjos is left trying to find what he once had as an Angel. Brought in with glimmering facades of getting what they already knew, nostalgia and price played at least some into the decision to let Bourjos take the 4th Outfielder role in 2019 for a familiar front office.
No such familiarity existed when Upton was still out around the end of March and Brian Goodwin was on waivers excelling when healthy and given the opportunity to play in KC.
Angels General Manager Billy Eppler, as he has been known to do, took a shot on a guy that had all the right stuff when he could stay on the field. So far, Goodwin has not disappointed. Goodwin said in an Interview with Jim Rome that “it wasn’t about proving KC wrong, but more about proving the Angels right.” He talked about his more intense conditioning program with two-a-day workouts and loving the environment in sunny Southern California.
Well, it loves you back B-Good. Angels fans are not the most vocal in all of sports. They are not known for making loud statements like fans in Philly, or even across SoCal counties like the Dodgers faithful blue. Certainly, one statement they are making is that they want to see Brian Goodwin in red for the rest of 2019, and maybe beyond.
Angels fans respect people who put their head down and get the work done. From the star that defines it wearing number 27, to the icon who has become it in number 5; number 18 is adding to a legacy that people in Anaheim want to see define them. Pay your dues, work on yourself, perform well and get rewarded. Especially when you’re good, very good.
An OPS in the .944 range and a WAR about 2 full points higher than the alternative in Peter Bourjos will get it done. But for how long? When Upton comes off the Injured List and Ohtani reclaims his lefty DH throne, will nostalgia keep Bourjos, or left-handedness help keep Bour over B-Good?
Would Angels fans even stand for it? In numbers, production, and general effort you would think not. Brian Goodwin stands for what we all want to achieve; giving all we have to achieve a dream. Does Justin Bour? Does Peter Bourjos… anymore? It won’t be a decision taken lightly, but if Upton isn’t 100% the Angels need to look back at how they withstood. One name sums it up… it starts with a B and ends with a GOOD.