I was working on this for a while, put it aside when I got busy the last couple weeks but now seems like a good time to throw it out there. A lot of people seem concerned that Brandon may end up catching on with another team, figuring out how to hit and become a major offensive threat for them. Let's take a look at his potential and we can expect out of him.
Rather than offer what has become the standand, OMG! Brandoz WOod is the sUcKZ!!! type of post, I will present the case for what has happened to Wood, demonstrate why he is failing, and discuss a bit of what his potential is at this point.
Let's start with a quick reminder of what Brandon looked like in 2006 with Arkansas.
When Brandon was in Rancho and even his early years in Salt Lake, the guy had a huge swing with massive power when he connected. He still missed a lot however. Now watch him swing (at least from last year)- it is a completely different swing. He is slower to the ball, and looks to be just trying to make contact… and go the other way. I did a fanpost about it last year where I showed that when bwood came up in previous years and had limited success, the success was all pulled to left field. All his outs are to right or ground balls to the left side.
The simple explanation- Brandon has ALWAYS been fooled by offspeed stuff. He has always been a fastball hitter and couldnt adjust his massive swing to offspeed or breaking pitches. Look at his swing above- he has that weird push forward, rock back and then lunge at the ball. When he times it, POW!!! But when he misses he looks like an idiot.
When he got called up the first times, However, since he was only hitting in the low .200’s with that swing, he tried to change some things: slower swings, more defensive hitting, dropped his timing mechanism, all trying to hit offspeed stuff better. Which worked fairly well... against crappy AAA pitching.
When he came back up last year, the new swing failed for this exact reason- he couldn't time/ catch up to every major league pitch. If he saw some offspeed stuff, he was always slow to the ball and ended up hitting a weak grounder to third and he would hit a lazy flyball to right when he missed the fastball because he was trying to split the difference in the timing of fastball/ offspeed stuff to make contact.
Brandon is (was) a fastball pull hitter. He will NEVER have success until he reverts back to that. Even then, those guys arent dream players. He would basically be Mark Reynolds. Low average, high power, but without reynold’s walks. He- like most of the angels players- simply havent worked to develop the plate discipline to take pitches outside the strikezone- something critical for these type of players. While we may be sad to see Brandon go because he is a nice guy, he will never make any real contribution to a major league club unless A.) he changes his swing back to what it was and focuses on pulling the fastball and B.) he develops some serious plate discipline.