Friday, April 22, 2011
Pirates claim Brandon WoodPosted by Vince Caramela
The former prospect reclamation project continues in Pittsburgh.
Strange, it doesn’t seem too long ago that a skinny 19-year-old shortstop named Brandon Wood first gained attention after clubbing 43 home runs in the Cal League. The year was 2005, and the bandwagon runneth over as Angels fans eagerly awaited the next franchise-changing shortstop to arrive in Orange County.
Call it a failure in player development or Wood’s own failure to recognize advanced pitching, but since 2008 Wood has logged 461 major league plate appearances, posting an atrocious 32.7 percent strikeout rate coupled with an almost non-existent walk percentage of 2.8.
His power also has evaporated as an Angel, and Wood has managed to post a career batting line of only .168/.197/.259. Opposing pitchers have long been keen to the fact that you don’t give Wood anything decent to swing at—is this a product of “pressing,” where Wood feels the need to impress in his few chances at the plate? Or is Wood completely fooled and at the pitcher’s mercy?
Looking over Wood’s count/balls-strikes data provided by baseball-reference, rarely does he find himself in any 2-0 and 3-1 counts. Take, for example, his career in situations where he was ahead in the count, even and behind the count.
- Batter ahead: 111 plate appearances
- Even count: 174 plate appearances
- Pitcher ahead: 209 plate appearances
Despite his struggles, there still seems to be a divide among baseball analysts in terms of Wood’s true talent level. Obviously, the Pirates are willing to take a chance on Wood in the hopes that he can put up numbers even remotely similar to his Triple-A career of .283/.350/.536 in over 1,400 plate appearances.
After making a habit of acquiring every Andy LaRoche and Lastings Milledge from the former can't-miss prospect junk pile, the Pirates now add Brandon Wood to that list.
Vince has his own blog, The League of Transparency, and has also written for SBNation.