Brandon Wood was designated for assignment by the Angels last night, and it appears his days with the Halos are done. For those unaware, Wood was once one of the best prospects in the game — Baseball America ranked him as the 3rd-best prospect in baseball before the 2006 season, and he remained in their Top 20 through 2008. As a shortstop/third baseman with big time raw power (many expected him to hit 40 HR a year, and he had a year in Single A with 43 homers and 51 doubles), he was given plenty of chances to succeed before sliding off the top prospect lists.
In fact, check out this 2007 post by John Sickels trying to figure out who was the better prospect — Wood or Ryan Braun:
Summary I rate them as even on background/intangibles. Wood has a slight edge on tools. Braun has the edge on current performance. Wood has more projection. Overall Wood comes out just a hair ahead.
Wood is just a classic case of prospects never being a sure thing. He kept hitting for power in the higher levels, but he never seemed to be able to figure out big league breaking pitches. Wood’s development peaked at Triple A. We’re not even sure if Braun has peaked yet, as his plate discipline continues to improve.
I only bring this up because some have suggested that the Brewers take a look at Wood. With Yuniesky Betancourt at short, whenever an infielder becomes available, it’s only natural for a lot of us to wonder if it would be worth the move. Wood had a good reputation as a defender in his days at a highly-ranked prospect, but so many years at third base makes you wonder if he can still play shortstop. The Brewers could always put in a waiver claim, but if teams like Pittsburgh are interested, they’ll never get the chance to snatch him up. As a guy who’s probably a career backup at best now, it’s probably not worth it to give up anything of value in a trade.
To me, he seems like he would be an upgrade over Craig Counsell as the primary backup in the infield, and there’s always the chance he could put that power to good use as a pinch-hitter. At age 26, though, it doesn’t seem likely that he’ll suddenly learn how to hit a curveball, and with Eric Farris playing in Nashville, claiming/trading for Wood would be more luxury than necessity. If Wood has any prayer of making it as a big league regular, he’ll need a real chance to start. That wouldn’t happen in Milwaukee, and that’s the main reason why I don’t think a stint with the Brewers would work.