- Full name Jacob Thomas Woods
- Born 09/03/1981 in Fresno, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 200 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Bakersfield College
- Debut 04/08/2005
Drafted in the 3rd round (89th overall) by the Los Angeles Angels in 2001 (signed for $442,500).
View Draft ReportWoods was overshadowed a year ago by Phil Dumatrait, another Bakersfield JC lefthander who was a first-round pick of the Red Sox. Woods took a little longer to develop than Dumatrait but made huge strides again this year. He added 3-4 mph to his fastball after adding 5-6 a year ago. He topped out at 92, though his best pitch is still his power breaking ball. With all his improvement, Woods broke Dumatrait's single-season school strikeout record of 121.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Los Angeles brought lefthander Dusty Bergman to spring training in 2005 in hopes he would give them a reliable lefthanded option out of their bullpen. He wasn't healthy, so Woods got the call, breaking camp with the Angels though his experience and track record suggested he needed another season in the minors. He held his own, earning his first major league win April 23 against Oakland before spending most of the second half in Triple-A. Woods doesn't have an overpowering pitch, and the inconsistency of his curveball eventually got him in trouble in the majors. His curve looked like a possible out pitch when he signed as a third-round pick in 2001, but it has slipped since. Woods' best pitch now is a lively 90-93 mph fastball. His command is only average, and when he misses his spots he gets hit hard. He'll need to develop a reliable second pitch, either his curve or his changeup, before he gets another call to the majors.
Originally projected as a situational reliever, Woods continues to make a case for remaining in the rotation, leading Angels farmhands with 15 victories in 2004. He learned to pitch with less finesse and more confidence in Double-A, allowing two or fewer earned runs in 11 of his 14 starts at Arkansas. He doesn't have a plus pitch, but his fastball sits between 87-91 mph and gained more movement last year. He also improved his command of his heater, helping him set up a good change. When Anaheim drafted him in the third round out of Bakersfield (Calif.) JC in 2001, his hammer curveball had the makings of an out pitch. But he has lost some feel for his curve and will need to regain that to make it as a big league starter. When Woods doesn't control his fastball, he gets hit hard, as frequently was the case following his promotion to Triple-A. He'll return to Salt Lake and needs at least another full season in the minors before he's ready to contribute in Anaheim.
Woods followed Bakersfield products Colby Lewis (Rangers, 1999) and Phil Dumatrait (Red Sox, 2000) as picks in the first three rounds, and he broke Dumatrait's school record for strikeouts in 2001. He often is compared to big league relievers such as Mike Stanton, Scott Schoeneweis and Kent Mercker and originally projected as a future situational reliever. Woods, however, has made steady progress as a starter, adding a changeup as a third pitch. Armed with a moving 87-92 mph fastball and a plus curveball, he rarely needed to use a changeup before signing. It since has emerged as more than a show-me pitch. His strikeout rate has dropped each year, but he's learning the importance of pitching with his fastball. Woods has a high-effort delivery that sometimes affects the consistency of his big-breaking curve. He has the arsenal to start and he has been durable, tying Chris Bootcheck for the system lead with 171 innings in 2003. To remain in the rotation, he'll have to get more effective against righthanders. They hit .283 off him last year, compared to a .215 average for lefties. The Angels don't feel rushed to make a decision on Woods' future and will continue to develop him as a starter in Double-A this season.
Woods became the third pitcher in three years drafted in the top three rounds out of Bakersfield JC, with Colby Lewis (Rangers, 1999) and Phil Dumatrait (Red Sox, 2000) preceding Woods. Woods broke Dumatrait's school record for strikeouts as a sophomore. Cut from a similar mold as big league lefties Mike Stanton and Terry Mulholland, Woods doesn't project to add much more velocity to his 87-92 mph fastball. While his ceiling isn't considered high, most scouts believe there's little risk involved in profiling Woods as a back-of-the-rotation starter or middle reliever. He's already a polished strike-thrower. His fastball features run and sink, offering a good complement to his best pitch--a plus curveball--and average changeup. Woods operates with a full-throttle delivery, expending a lot of effort on every pitch, which could limit his workload down the road. He averaged less than six innings per start last year. The Angels plan to keep him in the rotation in high Class A this season.
Bakersfield (Calif.) JC is getting a reputation for churning out pitching prospects. The Rangers made righthander Colby Lewis a supplemental first-round pick in 1999, and the Red Sox took lefty Phil Dumatrait in the first round in 2000. After Woods broke Dumatrait's single-season strikeout record, the Angels selected him in the third round last June. He's built like Mike Stanton, with a solid, stocky body and thick legs. Also similar to Stanton, Woods throws a power breaking ball with a tough three-quarters break toward the back foot of righthanders. He can command both sides of the plate with his fastball, which has increased from the low 80s in high school to 89-91 mph. Though he led the Pioneer League in strikeouts during his pro debut, Woods was inconsistent. He often got into trouble because he got too much of the plate with his fastball and didn't have the confidence to throw his changeup. By the end of instructional league, he had fallen in love with his change. He's anxious to make his full-season debut with confidence in three pitches.