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Thinking about Brandon Wood

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Thinking about Brandon Wood.

First let's take a look at Wood's statistical record since reaching full-season ball.

Last year, when asked if I was particularly worried about Wood's strikeout rate, the answer was usually some variant of "not particularly." What about now?

First of all, this strikeout rate is actually down a bit this year, as you can see from the numbers above. It is still too high, breaking the once per game barrier. His MLE the last two years shows him, right now, as a guy who would hit .220-.230 in full-time major league action, although with power. Give Wood 500 at-bats, and he's hit something like .227/.290/.450. Obviously this is not star production.

There are mitigating factors. He is still just 22 years old, the equivalent of a guy who was drafted out of college in 2006. If he had gone of the University of Texas instead of signing with the Angels back in 2003, he would have been a first-round pick in '06. If a first-round pick out of college goes to Triple-A and hits 23 homers in his first pro season, people would be happy even if he did strike out too much and not hit for a great average.
Given Wood's athleticism and the fact that he is still young, it's far too early to concede that he won't hit for average eventually. No one expects him to be a .300 hitter, but I continue to think that he can be a .250-.270 hitter at maturity, with a fair OBP, and plenty of power.

Position is another major issue. Wood is a very good defensive shortstop, but the Angels played him at third base this year due to roster factors. A third baseman who hits .250 with 25 homers is not as valuable as a shortstop who can do the same thing.

So what's the bottom line here? Brandon Wood is still a very good prospect with a bright future. He's got some issues, not all of them under his control. He'd have more value to his team at short, and I also don't like the way the Angels called him up a few times and let him sit on the bench. This doesn't seem conducive to his development. But he is NOT the second coming of Dallas McPherson. At worst I can see him as one of the Alex Gonzalezes, and I still think he's got a good chance to be a lot better than that.