I was looking over Wood's stats for the year so far and started messing around with the hit/ out/ ball in play tool. I noticed that wood has exclusively grounded out to the left side and has exclusively hit fly outs to right field.
Such an extreme split seemed odd to me so I started digging a little further.
I started looking at times in the past when Wood has done well- 2008 is the best example- and it appears when he is doing well, he pulls more fly balls (home runs) and goes opposite field on the ground. Basically, Wood's approach is all screwed up- big surprise. This could be because pitchers are giving him different pitches to hit, or because he has changed his approach.
The Good News- Almost certainly Wood will eventually figure out his error and get back to his normal ways. When he does, we can expect at the minimum the Wood of old- a .250 hitter with 15-20+ hr power- and we can hope that regular playing time will spell improvements in these numbers. It seems likely that with regular playing time Wood can get up to a .275 average.
The Bad News- Wood is stuck in the slump of a lifetime and everyone seems to forget that he is not a rookie. This guy has 80 something games under his belt and has demonstrated that he is a .250 hitter with good power. Something is screwing with Wood and whether its mental, physical or an adjustment others have made to him, it's keeping him from hitting the ball like he can and is messing with his overall game.
So what's the best approach- I suppose it is like any other major leaguer in a slump- he needs to work his way out of it and whether that comes through increased time in the batting cage, time off, or extra work, something is going to have to change. Hopefully Scoscia and Co. can put together a plan and give him the patience that they have shown other struggling hitters (Vlad, GA, etc...). On the positive side though, Wood will eventually come out of this slump.
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