Before the 2006 season, Brandon Wood was Baseball America’s #3 overall prospect.
Today he signed a minor league deal with the Royals.
Wood climbed up the rankings years ago by an impressive power display. As a 20-year-old he hit 43 homers in High A for the Angels and got a brief look in Triple A. The following year, after his #3 ranking, he hit .276/.355/.552 with 25 homers and 71 extra base hits for Double A Arkansas. It was as slight regression but still solid numbers. In 2007 he finally broke through but struggled in 13 games in the big leagues.
Since, he’s been up and down. The Angels had him stashed in Triple A from 2007 through 2010 where he showed plenty of power but never brought it with him to the big leagues. He’d hit like crazy in the minors, then lose it once promoted. Strikeouts were the main culprit – as a big leaguer, 29% of his plate appearances have resulted in strikeouts – and finally the Angels gave up on him.
He was claimed by the Pirates off waivers in 2011 where he filled various roles. He came up as a shortstop and third baseman but Pittsburgh had him all over the diamond. In 2012, he played for Colorado’s Triple A team in Colorado Springs and added some outfield to the mix.
Once the season starts, Wood will be 28 years old. He’s merely a AAAA player at this stage, but there’s still upside for him to put something together and the Royals aren’t blocking anybody by putting him in Omaha for the year. If he somehow turns into something, then they’re playing with house money. If he does nothing and keeps falling off the baseball cliff, the Royals aren’t out anything but the time they use to try to turn him around. It’s a worthy gamble. Alex Gordon‘s breakout came when he was 27. Melky Cabrera resurfaced at 26 (though, he does have plenty of question marks around that comeback…). It’s a dream but Wood could turn into something yet. Is it likely? Not really – but stranger things have happened.
Durango is a 26-year-old switch hitter with some big league experience with the Padres. He’s tiny and fast, in the mold of Jarrod Dyson and could be an injury fill in if the Royals find their outfield to become depleted. Gac is 27 and has some big power – in the minor leagues. He’s been in the Rangers and White Sox organizations before making it to Atlanta’s Double A affiliate in Mississippi last year. In 2011, he hit 33 homers for the White Sox High A ballclub. I doubt he sees the majors, as his highest level of competition was last year’s Double A stint, but he’ll be a decent depth option for Omaha.
Wally at KCKingdom (FanSided’s Local Kansas City team site) has a bit more on both signings: