When the Pittsburgh Pirates made the waiver claim for Brandon Wood the owner of the local baseball card shop was pumped. We laughed and expressed our doubts. He scoffed as he scrambled to find Wood rookie cards to move into the Pirates display case.
Now let’s get something staight. Once Wood put on the Pirates black and gold we have been firmly behind him. But the fact he has been an out machine is wearing on our fanhood.
The thought process of the Pirates brass was a good one. Brandon Wood fills a need. He’s inexpensive. Low Risk. Josh Harrison isn’t ready. Chase d’Arnaud isn’t ready. Jordy Mercer is going to be a stud, but isn’t there yet. Predictably, the option of Josh Rodriguez failed.
But looking at Brandon Wood for the next couple of weeks seems like a failure as well. We know the past few weeks have been which is evident about 80% of the time he steps to the plate.
We realize as Pirates fans we typically have to settle for horseshit. We know the drill. But Wood is taking horseshit to the next level.
If this were Ronny Cedeno, fans would be having a freaking meltdown. The fact is Ronny Cedeno at least shows flashes of being a talent. The way Wood has performed is similar to a .99 cent bottle of flat black spray paint. It sucks. But for now, it’s priced right.
We understand that Neal Huntington and company are looking for the next Jose Bautista. (Who in MLB isn’t) But Wood has shown nothing that would lead one to believe he is going to repeat his performance as the 2005 minor-league home-run champ.
TAv is something called true average that is used by Baseball Prospectus. It is corrected for league offensive level, quality, the stat also factors in the parks in which the hitter has played. If a player is around .300 the player is really good. A TAv of .260 is league average.
So what Brandon Wood has done is remarkable. In the BP 2011 Annual you can read the following about Wood: Since 1954 the only position player to post a seasonal TAv lower than Wood’s .121 in a minimum of 200 plate appearances is Tony Pena, Jr. who managed a .117 mark in 2008.
History has shown Brandon Wood needs to fix something. We don’t see anything that shows Wood has been repaired by Clint Hurdle and the gang. We actually wrote about Hurdle saying he hadn’t touched anything with Wood to that point.
Maybe now is a good time.
Wood is continually behind in the counts. Of course, he is hitting just awful when behind, but if he could ever learn to battle ahead of pitches perhaps our eyes would not be weary of watching Wood swing and miss.
Last night, against the right hander with the best ERA in the league who also speaks four languages, Wood fell behind 0-2 before fly fishing uncertainly the first time up with one out and a runner on first.
In the fifth inning Wood looked at the first strike, went fishing on the second pitch to fall behind 0-2 and flew out to right center field. (This was the highlight of the night. It was cool he went to right field–apparently that is a sucess.)
In the seventh inning Wood worked ahead in the count for the first time. He saw three balls, took a strike down Liberty Avenue, fouled a pitch into the first base seats, and then had an infield fly out. Wood swung at a pitch that looked to be in the zone–he typically swings at 36 percent of pitches outside the zone, or over seven percent more than the ML average. That’s not good, but the fact that when he does swing at pitches outside the zone he misses them, really sucks. Wood connects well below ML average, about 11.5 percent of the time.) [FanGraphs]
When he falls behind in the count, as expected, he is awful. But remember Wood takes it to a new level. He is hitting .160 when behind in the count with 11 strikeouts in 25 at-bats.
In fact, he has struckout 20 times in 60 at-bats. Nothing is changing. If you were to watch a fly fisherman cast his fly rod upside down, it would distinctly resemble Wood’s hacks when he attempts to hit curveballs.
We would be thrilled to eat crow when we visit the local baseball card shop. Nothing would be sweeter than to see Woods’ stack of cards thinning out as Pirates fans snatch up a guy who once was thought to be a serious power hitting talent in MLB. Now his comparables are Scott Moore, Matthew Brown and a guy familar to Pirates fans, Andy Marte.
So when we walk into the card shop, instead of hearing —“I told you so!” We are greeted with the back of the head of the owner. He scurried to the back of the story each of the last four times we have visited.
We happened to take a look in his Pittsburgh Pirates baseball card showcase. It never lies.
The Brandon Wood baseball card selection hasn’t changed. Sort of like his performance on the baseball diamond thus far.