Niko Goodrum was taken with the 71st pick in the 2010 draft out of high school in Georgia. Like a lot of athletic Georgia prepsters (Tim Beckham, Donovan Tate) he struggled in his pro debut, hitting just .161/.219/.195 in 36 games in the GCL. He showed marked improvement in his second pro season, however, hitting .275/.352/.382 in Elizabethton, but with only 15 extra base hits.
Repeating Elizabethton this year, Goodrum has had a fantastic start to the season. Saturday was the culmination of all those efforts as Goodrum hit for the cycle for Elizabethton, going 4-5 on the evening. For the year he is at .306/.443/.735 in his second go around in Elizabethton.
Expectations should be tempered a bit of course: it is only rookie ball, and plenty of Twins have had hot starts in rookie ball and then flamed out, plus it is Goodrum’s second trip through the league and while he’s not seeing many of the same players, he is a year older.
Still, there are plenty of reasons to be excited: he might not stick at short (I would bet he gets put in center field) but he is a toolsy athletic player who has the best position player arm in the system, can fly both around the bases and in the field, and has good hands. He has made quite a few errors so far in his minor league career, but he’s still learning how to play the position at the pro level. He’s played some second base and third base this year as well, but for the most part the Twins are letting him figure it out at short, which is the right plan. Even if he sucks there, it’s better for him to keep playing short and figure out on his own that he’s not a pro shortstop vs. the Twins telling him to move and them him having animosity about it.
Goodrum is 6’3″ and while most scouts think he will have to move, there is at least a chance that he will stick at short, making his potential value sky high. If he doesn’t collapse at the plate or get hurt (crosses fingers) Goodrum will definitely be a top 10 prospect in the system at year’s end, and potentially even top 5 thanks to how toolsy he is and how high his ceiling is.