Notes From Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show: Will Brandon Wood Be Everday SS?


The notes from an Easter editon of the Neal Huntington Show.

Once again, this is recapped as quickly and briefly as possible. If you have questions send them to us on Twitter or leave them in the comments and we will give our take.

The tweet question of the week was from @filipinothunder:

Greg Brown asked the twitter question which was, will Brandon Wood eventually take over as our primary shortstop?

Neal replied well as you look at Wood’s career, if he lives up to the hype then, yes he could be everyday player.  He would qualify as a good everyday player somewhere on the field—Huntington mentioned SS might not be his strongest position on the field.

If you recall from last Sunday’s show this is what Huntington had to say about Ronny Cedeno: 

"Much the same as he has in the past. The potential with Ronny is still there, but there is no question he needs to develop more. Working counts more, we need consistent play out of Ronny. Nick is working with him defensively. It’s time."

[Greg Brown:]  Do you have anybody that would be able to push Ronny if need be? Or is it outside the organization?

"Josh Rodriguez. Pedro Ciriaco. Jordy Mercer is most accomplished defender. Mercer is going to take bats in AA. It’s not as bleak as people paint it to be. There isn’t a ton of impact guys at the position. Makes it harder to get in a trade. Ciriaco needs to play everyday. We saw good things from him athletically. Chase needs to play more SS. We have internal alternatives. But we are looking for Ronny to step up.Rodriguez can handle the balls hit to him. Steady but not spectacular."

GB:  I read that the numbers for Wood were inflated in the minors based on where he played?

There is no question about it.  Pacific Coast League when compared to the International League stats are apples and oranges.  An 800 OPS in Indy and an 800 PCL it’s just not apples to apples.  There is a need for a league adustment when looking at players from each league.  We are going to try and bridge the gap between the potential that is there with Wood, it’s still there, and get it to ML level.

Sometimes a change of scenery is what’s needed.  Something clicks.  A relationship with a manager, coach…

GB: Don’t want to put you on spot, but do you have example of a change of scenery working?

Jose Bautista.  [A few years ago….]  He put up almost worse numbers until September and to his credit, something clicked, then he went out and did it last year.  He has become a monster.  Would it have happened in Pittsburgh?  I would like to think it would have.  [there were many more details in here and it seriously sounds like Huntington wants to crawl under the interview table when thinking about Bautista, but give him props—he brings it up.]

GB:  A black cloud hovered over Wood in California, if we take away his power numbers, can he become an average guy offensively?

We have a ton of reports on Wood.  Scouts felt it was a great gamble.  In talking with Hurdle and Ritchie they saw some things they thought we could simplify.  Get him back to his roots.  He comes here with no pressure.

Sometimes it clicks, a different relationship, we see things we can help him with.  The strikeouts are still high.  Is there an adjustment we can make for him?

GB:  Fans think [Wood’s situation is like] it’s Chad Hermanson.  When he got to Pittsburgh, you could see the confusion in his eyes.  No one seemed to let him get four at bats a night for about a month.  He never got consistent playing time.  I don’t know how consitent was the at-bats Wood got?

It might be that.  We have to be a little more patient.  They are what we have.  We are going to test fans patience in some instances because of that.

It’s silly to say he’s still a prospect.

I know the fans are frustrated with Cedeno.  We are still working through it.  He has to keep the job.

I don’t want to say the job is up for competition.  If Ronny does what he did last night, he will stay in the lineup.  If Wood gets in the lineup and gets some hits, he is going to be tough to get out of the lineup.  The job isn’t up for grabs, but someone has to grab a hold of it.

GB:  Bobby Crosby pushed Ronny, did Wood coming make Ronny have a good night last night—(something to this effect)

We got Crosby to protect us.

It came down to Brandon Wood is a guy that intrigued us.  We like Josh Rodriguez.  It’s not a knock on Josh.   The pedigree and upside is something that interested us with Wood.

GB:  Wood’s defense?

Solid, but not spectacular.

GB: Boyer and Sinkbeil

Boyer, heavy sinker, one time big prospect.  Some very 9095 mph sinker.  When he is off, he is eratic, walks too many people.  With the bullpen, you never know when it clicks.

Sinkbeil.  Former highly touted prospect.  We have some history with him.  One time he was highly regarded.  They wanted to take a shot with him.

Boyer had a tough outing.  He was up to 96, maybe 97, but couldn’t get the ball over the plate.

Sinkbeil is going to extended spring training.  He is a longer term project for lack of a better word.

GB:  Josh Rodriguez status.  What do you plan to do with Rodriguez?

Neal talked about the process.

We are in early process seeking a trade.  We have no way of knowing right now.  He is in limbo.  If he gets claimed or traded, it’s a great thing for Josh because it means he stays in the big leagues.  If we get through those two phases and we’re not able to find a spot at the major league level for Josh, then the next step becomes going to Cleveland and seeing if there’s a fit there. But we have to work through the first two steps first.  He is not on a roster until we trade, or outright him, or offer back to Cleveland.  It’s going to take some time.


Scott Olson:  He has good days and other days where it’s not pain, but just not coming out the way he wants it to so we take a step back and try to continue to rebuild arm strength.   Olson has pitched in one game in extended spring training.

GB:  [ROOT Sports–Sabermetric Sunday!!!]  Isolated power, can you give a guy like me a lesson

Slugging minus batting average.  Quantify extra base hit power.    Ichirio has a decent slugging, but not so much ISO.

Simple way to put it is it’s a way to see a guy that has a lot of extra base hits.

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