Thursday, February 8, 2007

Top Prospect Angels

Brandon Wood
Birthday: March 2, 1985
Height: 6'-2"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Position: SS
Drafted: 2003, 1st round (23), ANA

Brandon Wood was a first round draft pick (23rd overall) by the Angels out of Horizon High School in Scottsdale. He hit 5 home runs in his rookie league season. His first full year in the minor leagues was with the Single-A affiliate Cedar Rapids Kernels in 2004, where he hit .251 with 11 home runs. He spent most of the 2005 season with advanced Single-A affiliate Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, hitting .321 with a California League record 43 home runs and 51 doubles. Combined with two doubles and a triple in four games with the Triple-A Salt Lake Stingers, Brandon Wood became the first known minor leaguer to hit more than 100 extra-base hits in one year. For the 2006 season, Brandon Wood is ranked as the 3rd best prospect by Baseball America, behind Delmon Young and Justin Upton. For his efforts in 2005, Wood was awarded the California League and Single-A Offensive Player of the Year awards, was named the player of the year by Minor League Baseball's official website, as well as being named co-player of the year of the Angels minor league system, alongside fellow prospect Howie Kendrick. [1]
Brandon Wood was selected by the Angels to play on their Arizona Fall League team, the Surprise Scorpions, in October and early November 2005. He hit a league-record 14 home runs for the league runner-up. In mid-November 2005 he represented the United States on the U.S. Olympic regional qualifying team.
Hitting: The numbers speak for themselves. Wood has tremendous power for the position, and it's developing earlier than anyone could have expected. With his size and power, one can't help but make comparisons. However, unlike Rodriguez and Jeter, Wood has never shown the ability to control the strike zone. Wood does need to show that he can work counts. Sure, he can hit any mistake for miles, but at higher levels he's going to have to learn to force the pitcher into throwing his pitch. If he can continue to hit the way he does he could be one of the bets hitters in the game in a few years.

Defense: Wood is not celebrated for his glove work. But I remember that there was a time when Adam Kennedy was also considered something of a defensive liability. Don't ask me why, but I get the feeling that Wood - despite the fact that he's oversized for the position - is the kind of guy who's going to turn his raw athleticism and baseball intelligence into plus defense. Maybe never to the point of becoming a perennial gold-glove candidate like Kennedy, but the Angels shouldn't have any second thoughts about his manning the six.

Speed: Wood has decent speed. Not a burner by any means but fast enough not to hurt the team.

Projection: Wood should become a special baseball player in the near future.

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