Why You Should Think About Brandon Wood Every Time You Watch the Phillies
Do you feel like Brandon Wood has never been given his shot, that Mike Scioscia has kept him down far longer than any good prospect should rot in the minors? Conversely, do you think that the mere fact that Wood is going into his age-25 year without having earned a spot is telling in itself, and/or are you of the mind that unproven players of that age (or even slightly older) are "too old to be a prospect"?
Well, let me introduce you to Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, and Jayson Werth. You may have heard of them. A combined 9 All-Star selections, 5 seasons (and soon to be more) in the Top 10 of MVP voting; 9 seasons in the Top 25. Ten seasons scoring 100 runs, 12 seasons driving in 100, 10 seasons hitting 30 homers. Some good baserunning & defense for extra spice. Back-to-back World Series appearances.
Where were they, development wise, compared to Richard Wood?
Plate appearances through age-22 season:
83 Shane Victorino
0 Ryan Howard
0 Chase Utley
0 Raul Ibanez
0 Jayson Werth
Through age 23:
Through age 24:
In fact, the Phillies whole roster is filled with guys who would have loved to be where Wood is right now: all but assured of a starting spot at age 25, after having already spent parts of three seasons in the Show. Carlos Ruiz didn't see a Major League pitch until age 27. Pedro Feliz started his decade-long career at age 25. Matt Stairs had one home run through his age-27 year; he has 259 now.
I can say with confidence that Brandon Wood will not be as good as Chase Utley. But to say that his 236 plate appearances so far amount to either criminal development negligence or proof positive that he won't excell is, I think, inaccurate.