Feb 21, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Brandon Wood (70) poses for a picture during photo day at the Royals Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Tale of Brandon Wood

Remember Brandon Wood? Before Mike Moustakas, Wood was the top third base prospect. A power hitting prospect in the Angels system, he hit 43 home runs between two levels in 2005, catapulting himself into the top ten prospects in baseball according to Baseball America in 2006 and 2007. Although Wood struck out a lot, his power was expected to project at the major league level. If he could manage to hit in the .260 to .270 range, Wood could have been a future star.

Feb 21, 2013; Surprise, AZ, USA; Kansas City Royals shortstop Brandon Wood (70) poses for a picture during photo day at the Royals Spring Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

But that is the problem with prospects – they do not always pan out. Wood, despite the high hopes that the Angels and prospect watchers had, never could turn his promise into a reality. Despite being given every opportunity to seize the Angels third base job, Wood was unable to hit whatsoever. After parts of four subpar seasons with the Angels, he was waived by the Angels and acquired by the Pirates before bouncing around the minor leagues, including a brief stop this past year with the Omaha Storm Chasers. Overall, in his time in the majors, Wood produced a .186/.225/.289 batting line, striking out 218 times in 700 at bats. That power he displayed in the minors led to all of 18 major league home runs.

Now, Brandon Wood finds himself on a minor league contract. Signed by the Padres, Wood is trying once again to resurrect his career and actually become some semblance of the player he was expected to be. If not, Wood would be just another top prospect who never became what was expected.

The pain of a top prospect not panning out is something that the Royals have felt all too frequently over the past few years. The Royals were expected to have their Big Three starters coming through the farm system, but only Danny Duffy has reached the majors. Moustakas has yet to become that power hitting third baseman, and may find himself in a platoon with Danny Valencia. Now the Royals have another crop of prospects on the verge of reaching the majors, headlined by Kyle Zimmer and Yordano Ventura. While a lot is expected of both pitchers, there is just no way of knowing whether or not they will perform as expected, or if they will find themselves as potential AAAA players.

In a way, it is sadly ironic that Brandon Wood found his way into the Royals system, given how many of the Royals top prospects had not panned out. If nothing else, his presence in the system, albeit brief, can help serve as a warning as to other prospects that just because they are highly rated, success is not assured. Sometimes, no matter what you do, success just never comes.

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  • kcstengelSr

    I hope something “rings” inside of Mike Moustakas. I wonder how much “ego maturity” counts for prospects. Some high school kids have to be overwhelmed by the dollars and fancy talk.
    I enjoyed the article.

  • cardsfanatik

    Good article Dave. And up to this point, Moose is closer to Wood than most think. He showed promise in his first taste, but didn’t build from there. Everyone expects somewhat of a sophomore slump from guys, but Moose isn’t even close to being a sophomore anymore. I think this is a big year for him. And I hope with the way they went about the off-season, he is not the main 3rd baseman in May if he’s hitting .200. He has 1500 PA’s at the major league level. The Royal’s SHOULD BE showing a little concern. Not saying dump him just yet, but the concern should be there. And I believe this is why Valencia was picked up, although he is abysmal against RHP. But in a perfect world Moose comes out this year and absolutely tears the cover off the ball. My main concern with him is the rumors about him taking coaching. If they are true, puts me in mind of Colby Rasmus. Rasmus to me acts like the world of baseball owes him something, just my feeling I get from him, and I can’t stand players like that. There were better before you buddy, and there will be better after your gone. Shut up, sit down, and listen. That would be my approach, but then, thats just me. A player that you can’t coach, would be someone else’s problem, if it were my say. Now, again, these were rumors, and I don’t even remember where I read them, and there may be absolutely no truth to them at all. The other problem may be that Moose was to concerned with not being a crappy fielder and his hitting suffered, or it could be that Yostraidiot was preaching “HitItATon” and Moose was trying to yank EVERYTHING. And that is not a good way to go about business with a youngster either. Enough with my ramblings, I hope Moose comes out and tears it up. But we will see. I do think that its time for the short leash though.

    • Dave Hill

      Exactly. He’s not *quite* at that point yet, but he’s getting close. Kind of ironic that Wood ended up here for a brief stint when there is the potential for Brandon Wood 2.0 in Moustakas.

      That being said, I think that the addition of Valencia and being able to protect Moustakas from facing left handed pitching will benefit him a lot. Going to be interesting to see what type of a start he gets off to.

      • cardsfanatik

        I hope they fix him. I like Moose, be we can’t afford another full year like last year. Going to be interesting to see how they go about things.

    • moretrouble

      I have NEVER heard anything to the effect that Moustakas ignores the advice of coaches. Here’s where I agree with you, though: He’s had his 1,500 AB’s and it’s time to produce. He knows it, they know it — you and I know it. He’s a great athlete, great quickness, mobility, good hands, a cannon for an arm. He’s got potential, but…

      • cardsfanatik

        More, I have not “personally” heard that, thats why I said that was a rumor. I did read it reported somewhere, and can’t remember the source. I hope this isn’t a problem. But yes, it is time for Moose to start producing. Something, anything. Or its time to start looking at the alternatives.

  • moretrouble

    There is a long list of players KC has brought through it’s system, only to find they can’t make the last jump — among them are Calvin Pickering, Kit Pellow, Ken Harvey, Dee Brown, etc. Let’s hope Moustakas isn’t added to that list.

  • loylroyal

    Used to watch Brandon Wood when he played in Salt Lake with the AAA Bees. He was a great contributor on both defense and offense. Sad to see him struggle so much in the majors and even now. Great kid, and hope he finds his old self with San Diego.