Watching Brandon Wood become the Angels permanent handicap (and reading the awful critiques of Wood thus far... talking to you block writer) has gotten me thinking, the last few years we've had a catcher who was a handicap our team as well. Jeff Mathis, before figuring it out in the playoffs last year, was for 3 seasons allowed to "hit" a line of
Avg=.204/ OBP=.280/ SLG=.325/ OPS=.605 with 212K's in 691 AB for a 27% strikeout rate.
Wood, so far this year, has hit a line of:
Avg=.167/ OBP=.179/ SLG=.228/ OPS=.408 with 34k's in 116 AB for a 29% strikeout rate
And for his career in the majors he is:
Avg=.183/ OBP=.208/ SLG=.284/ OPS=.492 with 108 in 356 AB for a 30% K rate.
So sure, Mathis's defense was what kept him in the game, he was among league leaders in many defensive categories (including errors... in the bad way), but the Front Office's dedication to letting these guys they have seen come up through the minors wallow in their filth until they finally snap out of it is amazing.
Some of what must be going through the minds of Angel's Front Office personel is that they stuck with guys like Morales and Mathis who hadnt showed much offensively in limited looks. They stuck with Napoli on defense and he is said to be improving greatly.
This team is immensely loyal to their players. How long did we keep giving Gary Matthews Jr. at bats? Mathis got nearly 600 AB of .200 hitting. Numbers of pitchers have been allowed to stink it up before they finally break through and become successful- Not that I'm saying Wood will ever do that, we simply don't know.
I'm just pointing out the fact we can probably count on a full season of Wood, maybe 2 if previous player handling is an accurate reflection of what to expect. Maybe its the NL in Scioscia and he loves to keep an easy out in the lineup. Whatever the case is, let's hope Wood figures out how to hit soon.
On a Related note, Woods flailing at the plate the other day got me interested in seeing what he used to look like... you know... when he actually hit the baseball. So below are a couple videos of Wood down in the minors. Particularly interesting to me is the one where he is repeatedly missing the ball, but actually giving it a full swing... and even gets so pissed off he throws the bat. Wouldnt that be nice to see some anger? Have we ever seen these kinds of swings from Wood this year (aside from the outcome of course)?