The exact numbers might have escaped Royals general manager Dayton Moore’s memory, but Brian Goodwin knows them by heart. The 28-year-old outfielder devoted the offseason to reshaping his body and preparing to roam the spacious outfield at Kauffman Stadium on a daily basis, so the numbers certainly mattered.
Goodwin, who joined the club via trade in July, came into camp having trimmed down. He has increased his speed and mobility as he gets ready to compete for the starting right fielder job among a group of candidates that includes Brett Phillips, Jorge Soler and Jorge Bonifacio.
“I’m going to approach it with eyes wide open,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of the right field competition. “We’ll see. I don’t got any preconceived (ideas). There’s a lot of factors that are going to play into it.”
Goodwin reported to Arizona with 9 percent body fat. Asked if he remembered what it was before the offseason, Goodwin looked up from the folding chair in front of his locker, smiled and laughed while shaking his head.
“Yeah, I do. That’s like ingrained in the back of my head,” he replied.
Goodwin went into the offseason with 16 percent body fat. He’d committed that number to memory because it was so far from where he feels he should’ve been.
After last season, he trained alongside other professional baseball players as well as athletes training for football, basketball and track at Athletes Performance Center in Raleigh, N.C. The native of Rocky, Mount, N.C., worked very closely with Duke University assistant track coach Mark Mueller.
“That’s my boy, even though I don’t get down with Duke people like that,” Goodwin said lightheartedly. “Tar Heel all day! Just let him know that.
“It went really well. I got put in touch with him through the Royals staff and some guys that they knew. They ended up setting us up, and we got together and we just had a good relationship from the jump and we kind of just took off from there.”
Goodwin, acquired from the Washington Nationals in exchange for pitcher Jacob Condra-Bogan on July 22, got off to a hot start with his new club. In his first five games with the Royals, he went 8-for-17 with one home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. Then a left groin strain put him on the disabled list for a month.
In 27 games with the Royals last year, Goodwin batted .266 with a .317 on-base percentage and a .415 slugging percentage. He hit three home runs and five doubles and drove in 13 RBIs and scored 11 runs in that span.
Fit and rejuvenated this spring, Goodwin has shown no signs of being put off by having to battle for the right field spot in camp.
“Competition is good,” Goodwin said. “Competition is always good. You need something like that. I had the same thing in the offseason. I’ve just been working out pushing myself, (we’ve been) pushing each other. Ultimately, it’s just going to make us all better. I haven’t really thought about position at all.”
Moore and the Royals’ front office had been a fan of Goodwin’s since before the trade. Goodwin, drafted out of Miami Dade Community College in 2011, ranked among the top prospects in the Nationals’ minor-league system. He was a star in the Arizona Fall League and Baseball America put him among the top 100 prospects in all of baseball in 2012.
“This time last year, we were actually interest in trying to acquire him,” Moore said. “It just didn’t happen. So when he became available mid-year, we jumped at the opportunity. We were excited to make him a part of the organization.”
While the organization gave Goodwin its thoughts on where he could improve and helped initiate the dialogue between Goodwin and his offseason speed coach, Moore lauded Goodwin for his efforts over the winter.
While Moore couldn’t recall exactly what Goodwin’s body-fat percentage was when he reported to camp, he pointed to a noticeable difference in his physique and the way he’s moved around early on in spring training.
“That was his choice to hire a speed coach, a track coach and condition a little differently,” Moore said. “He gets all the credit for that. I’m sure he sought the council and the advice of some of our people, but he’s the one who ultimately made the decision to do that. He looks great.”