At long last one-time super prospect Brandon Wood is set to get his shot at the big leagues. Will 2010 be Wood’s coming out party or the year he is exposed as being a bust?
2009 Stats: 41 AB, .195 AVG, 5 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0 SB, .559 OPS
2010 Chone Projections: 422 AB, .246 AVG, 58 R, 20 HR, 61 RBI, 6 SB, .762 OPS
2010 Marcel Projections: 218 AB, .239 AVG, 26 R, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 4 SB, .681 OPS
2010 ZiPS Projections: 505 AB, .244 AVG, 63 R, 20 HR, 66 RBI, 3 SB, .722 OPS
2010 Monkey Projections*: 375 AB, .260 AVG, 45 R, 13 HR, 55 RBI, 2 SB, .750 OPS
*All stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com except the Monkey Projections which are strictly based on my own knowledge, logic and intuition.
2009 Review: The Angels had a golden opportunity to see what Brandon Wood could do with regular playing time at the pro level when Vladimir Guerrero hit the disabled list last season, but for whatever reason they declined to do so despite the fact that Wood was tearing up Triple-A Salt Lake for the third year in a row. The few at-bats Wood got with the Angels in 2009 were sporadic at best and in no way a true reflection of his true potential.
3 Questions for 2010:
- How big a problem will his strikeouts be? We all know Wood is going to strikeout a lot. But the question is how much is too much? Brandon made big strides in cutting down his strikeout rate in the minors last season, but will it be enough to please Mike Scioscia who so greatly values situational hitting and high contact rates and will the lessons he learned last season translate to the majors?
- Can Brandon Wood hold onto the starting job permanently? The Angels are finally committing to Wood… for now. His leash could end up being pretty short with Scioscia-favorite Maicer Izturis waiting in the wings to take his spot should Wood stumble out of the gate. But if Wood can display the same kind of power he had in the minors without too many prolonged slumps, he could quickly become a fixture.
- Might Wood’s bigger problem be on defense? Everyone worries about Wood’s strikeouts, but he could really get himself in trouble if his defense isn’t up to snuff. Wood is replacing Chone Figgins who had a great year with the glove in 2009 and Izturis is no slouch himself (though I am not sold he is a very good third baseman). Wood’s defensive metrics in the minors weren’t great, but he was switching positions quite a bit and is still relatively new to the hot corner. He certainly has the potential to be a defensive asset at third in the long-run, but if he isn’t good enough in the short-term, he could be spending a lot more time on the pine than he expected.
2010 Preview: The Angels struck gold when they committed to Kendry Morales under similar circumstances last season, but don’t expect Wood to follow in Kendry’s footsteps. I foresee an up-and-down season for Wood who will prove to be a very streaky hitter. Sosh will ride him when he is hot but have a quick hook for him when he goes cold. That will lead to somewhat reduced at-bats for Woody, but it will also help alleviate some of the pressure on him to perform everyday. A lot of people are expecting low average and big power from Wood, but I have a hunch that Wood is going to be so concerned about whiffing too much that he will actually sacrifice his power a bit this season in order to make more consistent contact. Brandon will hardly turn heads with his numbers, but he will also do enough to make it clear that he is a legit MLB starter for years to come.