Wood Tries To Get Ahead

One of the big question marks regarding Angels top prospect Brandon Wood has been his ability to make contact frequently enough to be able to tap into his tremendous power. He struck out in 25 percent of his plate appearances last year, down a tick from 29 percent the year before.

Wood says his swing "right now is the best it’s ever felt." It’s pitch recognition and selection that he needs to refine in order to take the final step in his development.

"If I take that high fastball and take that slider away, it’s 2-and-0 and I’m in a good hitter’s count. Instead, I swing at them and I’m probably down 0-and-2," he said. "It’s about taking balls and not missing strikes."

The average difference between a 2-1 and a 1-1 count for a major league hitter last year was nearly .300 points of OPS. The difference in average OPS between 2-0 and 0-2 was .535. Getting ahead in the count should help Wood take advantage of his some of his greatest strengths, his bat speed and his ability to crush fastballs.