In case you weren’t paying attention…
— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) March 19, 2014
The San Diego Padres signed shortstop Brandon Wood this January. The now 29-year-old Wood hit .226/.262/.329 in 2013, splitting time between Triple-A Omaha (KC) and Norfolk (KC). He was supposed to be inking a monster free agent contract right around this time but, instead, he signed one of those deals that, were in printed in an actual, physical paper, would be strategically placed somewhere at the bottom of a sidebar in super-small font. So, don’t feel bad if you missed it. Wood isn’t much of a prospect these days.
It wasn’t that long ago that Wood was climbing the heights of the prospect charts in the form of a dazzling, all-around middle infielder with a can’t-miss power bat. A high school shortstop out of Arizona, he was taken in the first-round of the 2003 draft by the Los Angeles Angels. In Wood’s draft write-up, Baseball America lauded his slick-fielding at short and improved power stroke, noting a new conditioning regimen that led to a better physique and a senior year breakout.
Wood’s early professional career progressed as you might expect, as he hit .288/.348/.471 as an 18-year old in his rookie ball debut, showing the kind of power that warranted first-round draft status. He followed up that campaign with a less-than-stellar tour of Single-A, slashing .251/.322/.404 in the Midwest League. Still, the positive signals were aplenty: 46 extra base hits in 535 plate appearances (from a shortstop, no less), 21 stolen bases, and an OPS that was better than the league average as a 19-year-old (the average age for the MWL, in 2004, was nearly 22).