Pirates claim Brandon Wood

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.

{exp:list_maker}Batter ahead: 111 plate appearances
Even count: 174 plate appearances
Pitcher ahead: 209 plate appearances{/exp:list_maker}
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.

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  1. The Nye Mets Are My Favorite Squadron said...

    This seems like a decent flier for PIT, plate discipline is an “old player’s skill” and maybe playing for a team with no playoff aspirations will help him calm down.

  2. Ralph Maher said...

    No better patient manager than Scioscia around the big leagues and he stuck with Wood as long as he could (perhaps too long) with fans screaming to shuck this player.

    Good luck Pirates—it will take more than patience
    to bring this flower to bloom—

  3. Scott said...

    Couldn’t agree more.  Scioscia never gave this kid a real shot.  He’d play one day, sit the next.  He needs a fresh start.  This totally makes sense for PIT.

  4. Ralph Maher said...

    Being 84 yrs old, born and raised in Pgh but a resident of So. Cal and an Angel fan since 1969 I wish him well. Most recent years for the Pirates have not been much fun for their fans I’m sure.
    “Good field no hit” has been applied to many players that a change of venue seemed to help. Let’s hope so for both Brandon and the Pirates—

  5. ribman said...

    I disagree, Scioscia and the organization never committed to him. The most likely scenario is Wood simply didn’t advance and failed to handle ML pitching but he also was never a Scioscia type player. If Wood panned out he would have been a power hitter that struck out a lot. Scioscia has always proffered the small ball types on the infield especially MI like Izturis-Aybar etc. His first few years he was shuttled back and forth to AAA and sat on the Angel bench a lot. Scioscia never seemed comfortable with playing him Wood has little chance to make it but the Pirates can give him consistent pt and just let him be- he will be better than Ronny Cedeno.

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