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Angels may be giving up on Brandon Wood

May 25, 2010, 12:44 PM EDT

Over the weekend Mike Scioscia told the slumping Brandon Wood to avoid even picking up a bat during his time off, and in what seems like an awfully big coincidence Maicer Izturis is now ready to come off the disabled list and Wood has developed a hip injury that figures to put him on the shelf.
Wood has been absolutely brutal, hitting .156 with 36 strikeouts in 39 games, so I certainly don’t blame the Angels for wanting to hand third base over to Izturis. However, the issue is that Wood is out of minor-league options and thus can’t be demoted to Triple-A without first passing through waivers. He can be placed on the DL and then sent out on a lengthy minor-league rehab assignment, though, which is seemingly what the Angels have in mind.
Meanwhile, the bigger question is whether Wood can already be labeled a lost cause. A first-round pick way back in 2003, he cracked Baseball America‘s annual top-100 list four different times, including ranking No. 3 in 2006, No. 8 in 2007, and No. 18 in 2008. And yet now he’s 25 years old with a ghastly .179 batting average and ridiculous 110/9 K/BB ratio in 364 plate appearances.
Baseball history is filled with guys who struggled mightily as young players only to become stars and certainly 364 plate appearances spread over parts of four seasons is hardly definitive proof that someone can’t hit big-league pitching, but he’s beyond simple struggles at this point. In addition to the .179 batting average, Wood has whiffed in over 30 percent of his trips to the plate while drawing nine measly walks in 125 games and hasn’t even shown much power.
Add it all up and he has a .481 OPS, which is the fourth-worst total among all hitters with at least 350 plate appearances through the age of 25 since MLB lowered the pitching mound in 1969. The only guys with a lower OPS through age 25 in the past 40-plus years are John Vukovich, Luis Gomez, and Terry Humphrey, who combined for .201 career batting average.

  1. JBerardi - May 25, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    “A first-round pick way back in 2003, he cracked Baseball America’s annual top-100 list four different times, including ranking No. 3 in 2006, No. 8 in 2007, and No. 18 in 2008. And yet now he’s 25 years old with a ghastly .179 batting average and ridiculous 110/9 K/BB ratio in 364 plate appearances.”
    BA really should have noticed the gigantic red flag in the 767/294 K/BB ratio Wood punched up during his minor league career. That’s considerably worse than what players like Mark Reynolds, Ryan Howard, Jack Cust and Adam Dunn* did in the minors. You simply can’t sustain a adequate batting average with those kind of numbers. In other words, it’s highly unlikely that Wood is going to have a real career in the majors, and that’s been the case for quite some time now.

    *Those where just the first four guys I thought of. I’d challenge anyone to find me a guy with K/BB numbers like Wood’s who became a good hitter in the majors.

  2. Joey B - May 25, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    “BA really should have noticed the gigantic red flag in the 767/294 K/BB ratio Wood punched up during his minor league career.”
    By coincidence, I was looking at those stats this morning. His stats were okay through about 2005. He had a 1.054 OPS at high A at age 20. 128/48 was alarming, but not crazy. The following year, he had a 149/54 in 453 ABs. That projects to about 200 Ks in AA at age 21. While 21 is not old, what do 200 Ks in AA translate to in the pros? I think too many fans looked at 43 HRs from a SS in the minors and didn’t see anything further.
    But it does generate one fun-fact. Over his last 82 ABs, Wood has a lower OBP than average. There can’t be more than a handful of players than can make that claim over that period of time.

  3. Bobby Townsend - May 25, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    And to think the Angels let Chone Figgins go via free agency and handed the third base to Wood during the off-season.

  4. LAEaglefan - May 25, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Well…Chone Figgins isn’t exactly tearing it up in Seattle this year. It looks like maybe the Angels made a wise decision in letting Figgins go, rather than paying him the $10M per year it would have taken to keep him.
    But that said, it was time for the Angels to give Wood a shot to be the regular 3rd baseman. Either that or get rid of him. Its taken this far into the season and a horrible start for the team to convince Scioscia that Wood will never be the answer at 3rd base for the team. Maicer Izturis is a good stop gap replacement, but he’s too injury prone to be counted on for the long term. I don’t know who is available in the FA market this winter, but I think the Angels will be looking.

  5. Daniel - May 26, 2010 at 12:36 PM

    I don’t think the Angels are giving up on him. I think they’re doing the only thing left that they can do to get his head straight. If a rehab assignment in the minors can’t get his confidence back, then I’m not sure anything can. And I do realize that even with his confidence back, he probably won’t be a good major league hitter, but he can at least be useful.
    I think the Angels will give him this rest, bring him back up one more time, and give him another couple months to see if he can stick. If they’re in the pennant race in August and Wood is still struggling, they’ll cut bait. If they’re not in the pennant race, they’ll give him through the end of the year.

  6. juoe - Jun 10, 2010 at 10:17 AM

    I think they should give up on Sheilds. He never has been very good and still doesn’t seem to get any better.

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