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Colorado Rockies prospects: No. 19, Hunter Goodman

The first baseman/catcher/DH was flashy enough in 2022 to be this year’s first unanimous PuRP

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19. Hunter Goodman (254 points, 24 ballots)

Our first unanimous Purple Row Prospect is the 23-year-old Hunter Goodman. The first baseman/catcher/DH (based on playing time in 2022, in that order) possesses excellent raw power that he’s been able to get into games (36 homers, 71 extra-base hits across three levels in 2022). The ability to at least fake it at catcher also provides Goodman’s profile a bit of extra juice, though it’s unlikely he ends up behind the plate full-time at the big-league level.

After a 2021 season that saw him hit 21 home runs in 56 games for Memphis and produce a .300/.419/.517 line (145 wRC+) in 74 PA in the ACL after getting drafted, Goodman was assigned to Low-A Fresno to begin 2022. In 321 plate appearances with Fresno where he was about 0.9 years older than league average, Goodman continued his power surge with 22 homers as part of his 40 extra-base hits and a .291/.368/.592 line (137 wRC+).

That was enough to earn Goodman a promotion to High-A Spokane in early July, where he was 0.5 years younger than league average. In 211 PA with Spokane, Goodman had an even-better offensive line (.315/.351/.589, 153 wRC+) with 12 home runs among his 29 extra-base hits. That included an August in which he hit an insane .370/.405/.769 with 22 extra-base hits (10 HR) in just 116 PA. Goodman struck out in 29% of PA while walking in just 5% (steps backward from 24% and 8% in Low-A), but a prospect can get away with that if they are mashing like Goodman did.

The Rockies promoted Goodman once again in early September to Double-A Hartford, where he was 1.8 years younger than league average. Against that upper-level pitching in a 47 PA sample, Goodman struggled a bit, hitting .227/.277/.364 with two homers (74 wRC+). That’s probably to be expected for a slugger on his third assignment of a long season, but it’s hard to argue a collective .295/.354/.572 line with 71 extra-base hits and 36 homers in 579 PA is anything but wildly successful. Beyond that, Goodman absolutely murdered left-handed pitching (.352/.381/.762 with 12 HR in just 113 PA), showing some clear utility as he moves up the ladder as a dangerous power bat.

Though he’s officially listed as a catcher, Goodman was only behind the dish in 43 of his 134 games in 2022. As a catcher he committed three errors with nine passed balls, throwing out 25% of would-be base stealers. At first base, Goodman committed 11 errors in 78 games at the position. Another hint the Rockies don’t view Goodman as a full-time catcher moving forward is that he is listed as an infielder in Colorado’s non-roster invitee list to this year’s Spring Training, though he might still take some reps as a catcher.

Here’s some tape on Goodman mostly hitting (and throwing out a base stealer at the end) with the ACL team late in 2021 courtesy of Prospects Worldwide: ranked Goodman 87th overall in the 2021 draft class and currently places him 24th in the system as a 45 FV player:

Goodman made a strong first impression as a pro, showing off his legitimate plus raw power and a better-than-expected approach, both during his brief debut in the Arizona Complex League and instructs. When in hitters’ counts, he does not get cheated and even his outs were loud. His swing comes with a lot of leverage and it can get long, with a tendency for him to get pull happy, with swing-and-miss as a result.

It remains unclear if Goodman can catch long-term, but he did make progress defensively at instructs working with catching guru Jerry Weinstein. He worked on changing his arm stroke, footwork and exchange to help his average arm play better and moved around better than expected. He’s played first in the past, and the power might work from there, but his value obviously is greater if his improvements behind the plate stick.

Fangraphs slots Goodman 26th in the system with a 40 FV tag, with the tools highlighted by a plus raw power grade:

Goodman was among those with the most present raw power in the 2021 draft’s college contingent, thumping 29 homers in 73 games combined between his 2020 and ‘21 seasons. A heavy-handed receiver with mobility issues, Goodman wasn’t likely to stay behind the plate and lots of teams viewed him as a first base prospect with a 40-grade bat. Goodman already seemed to make some stylistic changes in pro ball, ditching his part-time one-knee technique and opting for a traditional crouch all the time, and a slightly narrower one than he used in college. Much of his future depends on the defense developing, at which point Goodman’s hit tool will determine if he’s a bat-first backup (our current projection) or pushes for a bigger role.

Kiley McDaniel of slotted Goodman in as a 40 FV player before 2022, saying that:

[Goodman’s] a below average receiver behind the plate that may need to move to first base but with easy plus raw power and solid production. He’s probably a righty bench/platoon that’s either a backup catcher or third catcher/mostly first baseman, but even that is more valuable now with the universal DH.

Keith Law of the Athletic ranked Goodman 17th in the system in February 2022:

He’s power over hit, and isn’t very selective, but he’s a fringy receiver who did show some skill behind the plate in instructs.

Goodman is a bat-first prospect, there’s not much doubt about that, but especially in a world where robo-umps come to MLB he has the offensive ceiling to be a contributor at catcher, first base, or DH in at least a platoon capacity and maybe more. Goodman will probably begin 2023 in Double-A again, but it’s conceivable if he mashes this year he’ll be a consideration for a late-season call-up and the first MLB debut of Colorado’s 2021 draft class.

Goodman’s high strikeout, low walk tendencies may become even more pronounced as he works up the minor league ladder, but his ability to get his raw power into games is a critical point in his favor as a prospect. The catcher utility is also a help, even if it’s only in a part-time role, but right-handed power like Goodman possesses plays at any position. Goodman was a 40 FV player for me, 23rd on my list, because of the swing and miss in his game and likely 1B/DH defensive fallback, but I’m excited about seeing what a player with his power can do in Coors Field (even as a platoon bat).