The Angels recalled shortstop Brandon Wood from Triple-A Salt Lake before last night’s game—in which he struck out in one at-bat—to provide infield insurance. Maicer Izturis, the Angels’ regular second baseman, had experienced back trouble, pushing regular third baseman Chone Figgins to the keystone. Wood received five separate callups to Anaheim last season, and not surprisingly managed to hit just .152/.152/.273 in 33 at-bats.
Wood is one of the more fascinating prospects in Triple-A, both for what he can do (hit for extreme power) and cannot do (make consistent contact). But when you can do the former and hold down a demanding, yet high profile, left-side-of-the-infield position, you’re a top prospect. The 23-year-old is back at shortstop this season after serving as Salt Lake’s third baseman in 2007.
Now about those strengths and weaknesses:
|BRANDON WOOD • MINOR LEAGUE PERFORMANCE (2005-2008)
ISO Isolated Power (SLG – AVG). K% K / PA. BB% (BB – IBB) / PA.
The Angels worked with Wood last season and again this spring to reduce his stride and to keep his weight back when he swings, adjustments aimed at reducing his high strikeout totals. His strikeout rate did go down with Salt Lake last season, but so too did his power output. His slugging percentage clocked in at under .500 for the first time since he was in the low Class A Midwest League, and his extra-base hit total was about half of what it was in his breakout campaign of 2005.
Wood’s power has re-emerged early this season, and with it the strikeouts have returned—though he hadn’t whiffed more than once in a game since April 16. At the time of his callup, he ranked first in the Pacific Coast League with eight home runs and fourth with 29 strikeouts. But the Angels will live with the strikeouts if his power numbers remain even in the same ballpark as they are now.
After all, the Salt Lake Bees certainly didn’t suffer any ill effects from Wood’s whiffs. They began the season a minor-league best 21-1, and didn’t suffer their second defeat until last night—after Brandon Wood had been called up.
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