Twins shortstop prospect Niko Goodrum hit for the cycle and drove in four runs for Rookie-level Elizabethton on Saturday as the 20-year-old continues to show across-the-board improvement in his second go-round in the Appalachian League. Through 10 games with the E-Twins, he's batting .333/.400/.810 in 42 at-bats, while hitting two-hole for the league's top offense. Goodrum leads the league with 14 RBIs, 10 extra-base hits, six triples and 12 runs scored.
The 2010 second-round pick entered pro ball with a thud, hitting .161 in 36 games in the Gulf Coast League during his first summer out of high school in Fayetteville, Ga. Goodrum improved in 2011, notching a .735 OPS for Elizabethton that represented progress, but not enough to crack the league's top prospects list at season's end. Observers liked his swing but thought he'd be served by greater physical maturity.
The switch-hitting Goodrum has delivered on that prophecy this season by hitting for more power. He already has tied his homer output from last season, two, and he needs just five extra-base hits to match his total from last year. Goodrum has the system's best throwing arm, he runs well and his hands are soft enough to stay on the infield, so there could be further development in his near future.
A year ago, Goodrum played the left side of the Elizabethton infield next to Miguel Sano. This year, it's another righty-hitting third baseman who plays to Goodrum's immediate right. The 19-year-old Travis Harrison, the 50th overall selection in last year's draft, has gotten his pro career on the right foot by batting .421 (16-for-38) through his first 10 games of Rookie ball. He barrels the ball consistently and already shows feel for the strike zone with more walks (seven) than strikeouts (four). Scouts expect him to move across the diamond to first base once he fills out, but Harrison could make transition once he fills out and adds loft to his swing.