Brandon Wood: 2010 Breakout or Bust?

There are some players who always appear to be on the cusp of breaking out, aren’t there?  We’ve already discussed Johnny Cueto (click here to view), who certainly falls into this category.  The oft-injured Rickie Weeks is another player who pops into my mind.  What about the Angels Brandon Wood?

If feels like it’s been the better part of a decade since we began hearing about Wood and his potential to make an impact at the major league level.  Drafted in the first round of the 2003 draft (23rd overall), it’s not much of an exaggeration.  He’s seen time in the majors for parts of the last three seasons, been moved from SS to 3B, but has yet to be awarded a chance at full-time at bats.

Now, with Chone Figgins in Seattle, the 25-year old could finally be in position to play every day.  The question…  Will he be able to take advantage of it?

We all know he has power.  He made a splash back in 2005 when, in High Single-A, he launched 43 home runs.  Over his minor league career (2,944 AB) he’s hit 160 home runs, 76 of which has come in Triple-A.  In that regard, he has little left to prove.

It’s the average that is the huge concern.  In his brief stints in the majors he has posted a 33.0% strikeout rate.  Over his minor league career he was at 26.1%, which is similar to what he’s done overall at Triple-A:

  • 2007 (437 AB) – 27.5%
  • 2008 (395 AB) – 26.3%
  • 2009 (386 AB) – 20.7%

Part of me wants to throw the ’09 mark out, because it clearly is not indicative to what he’s shown throughout his minor league career.  What I do find interesting is that his ’07 and ’08 marks are similar to his career mark.

What is that intriguing?  Generally you see and increase as the player moves up the ranks, facing better, more skilled and developed pitchers.  However, he’s stayed consistent which does give me some optimism that he could improve significantly with regular playing time.

Is it a certainty?  No, but I’m trying to be optimistic.

If he could get it back down to the type of level, he’d have the potential to post a usable average.  He would need a lot of luck, but he was a .286 minor league hitter.  While .260 is more likely, with his power that would surely be acceptable.

If he were in line to hit in the middle of the lineup I would be optimistic about his ability to both score and drive in runs, but at this point I just don’t see that happening.  I have him penciled in to open the season hitting near the bottom of the order, which isn’t going to help him in the counting stats.

What else doesn’t help is the Angels consistent decision to bypass him, refusing to allow him the opportunity to grow into a position.  While he does appear to be the teams best option at third at this point, the presence of Maicer Izturis tells me that there is always the chance that Wood either finds his way to the bench or back in Triple-A.  It’s that uncertainty that helps to lead to the following projection:

.256 (109-425), 20 HR, 65 RBI, 60 R, 4 SB, .311 BABIP, .318 OBP, .466 SLG

You have to love the power, but given the history, I just don’t like his chances of receiving over 500 AB this season.  That causes him to fall outside the Top 30 3B for me, despite the upside that he possesses.  In deep leagues he’s worth a flyer for your bench, but I certainly wouldn’t be drafting him as a starting option.  Does that make him a breakout or a bust?  Honestly, at this point, I see 2010 as another “incomplete”.

What about you?  Do you think Wood will get a chance to play everyday in ’10?  What type of production are you expecting?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5) now including a Top 50 Prospects for 2010 List, click here.

Make sure to check out some of our 2010 projections, including:

Top 20 Prospects For 2010
Russell Martin A Fantasy Starter? Maybe... A Top Option? No

3 comments

  1. Joe Bob Briggs says:

    I love Wood for 2010. The last time the Angels took an up-and-down, slow-developing hitting prospect and stuck him in the lineup for 500ABs, we got Kendry Morales’s breakout.

    I think it can happen again here… as long as they stick with him through the inevitable struggles.

  2. MJ says:

    I agree with Joe. The key will be the Angels giving Wood the job no matter how much he struggles. Let him play out the entire year as their starting thirdbaseman and let him know the job is his for the entire season. If he continues to struggle after doing that then I’d say he’s blown his chance and needs to be traded. I think at this point is clear that he presses too much thinking he needs to prove himself right away. If he can just relax I think he’ll prove he can be a very productive player.

  3. BLAZE says:

    .256 (109-425), 20 HR, 65 RBI, 60 R, 4 SB, .311 BABIP, .318 OBP, .466 SLG

    LOL what’s to love here? He has walked about 3% of the time. that’s three %. Add that he’ll bat at the bottom = no runs. 60 runs is pushing it even. He’s not running anymore. no steals. His avg will be crap. no avg and rbis wont be great batting 9th.

    So a few hr’s? WOW…awesome.

    Add his contact rate is sitting in the high 60′s. avoid.

    Throw in Scioscia liking contact hitters spells bench time for Wood once he struggles. And he will struggle. Atleast Ian Stewart can take a walk and lay off pitches outside the strike zone.

    PASS.

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