Prospect Smackdown: Brian Goodwin vs. Jake Marisnick
In last week’s prospect smackdown, I took a look at the two best uninjured third base prospects in the game in Garin Cecchini and Maikel Franco. I’d love to tell you who won that battle, but I can’t, because I forgot to add a poll until Saturday afternoon. That means we only have five votes, whereas said polls generally get between 150-200. Sadz.
This week, I’m going to cover two of my personal favorite outfield prospects who’ve seen their stocks decline slightly over the past year. And this week, I’m going to include a poll at the bottom, because I learn quickly.
Prospect Smackdown No. 10: Brian Goodwin vs. Jake Marisnick
The Case for Goodwin
Goodwin is a very well-rounded prospect from a fantasy tools perspective, earning 5+ potential power and speed tools and a potential 6 hit tool grade from Jason Parks before the season began. The outfielder has also posted strong walk rates throughout the minors and profiles as a major leaguer who should be able to reach base with frequency. Goodwin is now in Triple-A, meaning he’s on the cusp of a MLB call-up, and it’s pretty exciting to think about his upside if allowed to bat near the top of the Nationals’ potent lineup. Goodwin should be especially valuable in OBP leagues, but even in leagues with standard category setups, a player who can hit .280 with 15 homers, 15 steals and a ton of runs is worthy of monitoring.
The Case against Goodwin
Goodwin might have all the natural tools in the world, but he’s yet to perform exceptionally at Double-A or above. Last season, Goodwin hit .252/.355/.407 in 533 Double-A PA, and he’s off to a slow start in Triple-A in 2014. Goodwin lacks consistency at the plate and still struggles against off-speed pitches, and there’s legitimate reason to be concerned about his ability to use his tools to their maximum effect. Factor in that the Nationals have a loaded outfield in front of Goodwin, and it’s tough to see how he gets playing time without pushing the issue with his performance.
The Case for Marisnick
Marisnick has long been one of my prospect crushes, and I first fell for him after his breakout campaign in High-A in 2013. There’s a legitimate case to be made that Marisnick is a better MLB prospect than a fantasy one, but he still has a collection of tools that excite me from a fantasy POV as well. Marisnick has more pure power and speed than Goodwin, and could be a perennial 20-20 threat in the majors. He’s had an uneven minor league career, jumping from Double-A to the majors for a brief 118 PA last season, but now finds himself in Triple-A as he attempts to refine his approach at the plate and in the field.
The Case against Marisnick
We spoke above about Goodwin’s hit tool possibly limiting the utility of his power and run tools, and that’s even more of a concern for Marisnick. While the 23-year-old hit .294/.358/.502 in Double-A last season, he struggled mightily in a premature MLB cup-of-coffee and is off to a slow start in Triple-A this season. Marisnick hasn’t shown the same willingness to walk in the upper minors as he did in the mid minors, and he struck out in nearly a quarter of his PA last season. With Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich cemented as outfield fixtures in Miami, Marisnick and Marcell Ozuna are left to compete for the final spot in the outfield, and Ozuna is already producing well at the MLB level right now. Another organizational change might be in order.