Why I Love Brandon Wood
One of my favorite current prospects is Brandon Wood. You may think this is because of his big breakthrough last year, or his impressive power production. That's partially true, but the main reason I like him is purely selfish and personal.
My shtick is blending sabermetrics and statistical analysis with traditional scouting reports. Although I lean to the statistical side, there are some guys I like based mostly traditional scouting. Wood is a case like this.
As those of you who have subscribed to my newsletter know, each year I do something called the "Shadow Draft," where I pretend to be the Minnesota Twins and make my own draft picks on draft day, in recent years doing this in real time. Researching in preparation for the Shadow draft is an excellent way to learn about the up-and-coming players before they are even pros. Last year we did a similar Mock Draft here at Minor League Ball, and we will do that again this year.
Anyhow, in my 2003 Shadow Draft for the Twins, I picked Wood in the first round (21st overall) instead of real Twins pick Matt Moses. I did this due to watching Wood on video. I was taken with his athleticism, his swing, his smooth actions on defense, his whip-like bat speed. We also had outstanding reports on his makeup and work ethic. But ultimately I picked him because I had an intuitive feeling that he would turn into an outstanding player. . .I alluded to this in the 2004 book, so it's on public record.
Intuition: According to Wikipedia, intuition is "an unconscious form of knowledge. It is immediate and often not open to rational/analytical thought processes. . .intuition differs from an opinion since the later is based on experience, while an intuition is held to be affected by previous experiences only unconsciously." I personally believe that intuition is often unconscious/subconscious pattern recognition on the part of the human mind.
It's a selfish reason and not scientific, but the main reason I like Wood is that my intuition said he would be good.
For purposes of full disclosure, here are my first picks for the Shadow Twins from 1996 through the present. A lot of times we picked the same person (but not always), but the middle rounds usually differ considerably. All of this is laid out in the newsletter each spring as we approach the draft.
1996 Braden Looper
1997 Mike Cuddyer
1998 Ryan Mills
1999 B.J. Garbe
2000 Justin Wayne
2001 Joe Mauer
2002 Joe Blanton
2003 Brandon Wood
2004 Glen Perkins
2005 Matt Torra
As for Brandon Wood, so far he is 2-for-6 with a homer and a double (and two walks) in Double-A. I hope to see him in action this coming week.