Prospect Countdown #36 : Austin Wood

Electric is maybe the best way to describe this hard hurling starter. Turning heads at all points of his career, Top 100 Prospect Countdown, Prospect #36, Austin Wood.


Austin Wood, Right-Handed Pitcher


HT : 6'4
WT : 225 lb.
DOB : July 11, 1990, Alamogordo, NM
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
Acquired : Drafted in 6th round (195th overall) of 2011 June Draft
Stock : Neutral
Cool Notes : Nolan Ryan and Josh Beckett are biggest sports heroes / Will Ferrell Fan / Always smiling


Injuries have taken the primary parts of Austin Wood's career, but he is set for something special this coming year. There won't be a time you see Austin Wood, and not see him smiling. He loves what he does, and he does it well. A lot of questions will be answered next season when it comes to Austin Wood, but we think the answers will be good ones.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Wood has been known for his fastball for a long time. Though he lacks strong movement, and tends to flatten at times it sits in the mid to high 90's, consistently ranging from 94-97, and tapping 98-99 on rare occasions. He elevates his fastball well and gets a lot of chasing with it.

Wood's changeup is good and is more than just a setup or "something different" pitch. It has a good late drop, and can be used in nearly any count to fool batters, which is does often. It sits in the 80-85 and is deceptive, with Wood throwing it from the same arm slot as his fastball.

Wood comes packaged with a duo of off-speed offerings. He has a strong sweeping curve, that is most likely the pitch he needs to develop the most, but still has a strong upside. He also has a well developed slider with hard bite and is his primary two-strike pitch. It has late drop and is one of his better swing and miss pitches.

Wood is working on a sinking fastball that has a more two-seam nature to it. He uses it effectively against left-handed bats to pitch away, and is learning to throw into into right-handed bats with effectiveness.

Wood has smooth mechanics, but has a few tendencies he'll need to improve on to become elite. He is about as hit or miss as it gets, and that is due to inconsistent repetitive mechanics. He has some release problems, but uses his body well, using his large frame, strong legs, and creates minimal stress on his arm.

Wood is a knowledgable man on the mound, and was never really a "thrower" as opposed to a "true pitcher." A lot of this comes from research in pitching from pitching guru, Tom House. Wood spent a lot of time with Tom House during his college years, helping him to keep healthy pitching mechanics, which should allow him to avoid a second Tommy John surgery.


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

Wood was a three-year letterwinner at Niceville High School, and earned Third-Team All-American and First-Team All-Region honors from Rawlings in 2007. Wood held a 6-2 record with a 1.35 ERA, while striking out 91 in 54 innings of work his senior season. Wood was named an All-State honorable mention and member of the Connie Mack World Championship.

Between his two seasons combined at Florida State University and St. Petersburg Community College, Wood held a 3-4 record and 5.34 ERA. He allowed 9.45 hits per nine and 6.3 walks per nine, giving him a 1.751 WHIP. Wood struck out 55 batters in his combined 65.2 innings of work.

The summer between his Community College and USC year, Wood was stellar. He pitched for the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod League, where he was named an All-Star, after posting a 0.58 ERA and 3-0 record.

Wood made 14 starts and two relief appearances in his one year at USC. He held a 5-7 record with a 5.61 ERA over 77 innings. Wood allowed 90 hits and 34 walks over his work, while striking out 50, giving him a 1.610 WHIP and .301 against average. Wood put together two strong starts against Pac-12 opponents, going six and one/third innings with two walks and one run against against Oregon, and went eight innings of one run ball against ranked Stanford.

After two quick appearances after being drafted, Wood spent the 2012 season in Single-A. He posted a 4.30 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, and .264 against average. Wood put together a mix of five starts, where he allowed three runs in 29.1 innings pitched (0.92 ERA), 21 hits (6.44 H/9), and held bats to a .212 batting average.

Over the past two seasons, Wood has pitched in only 16 games. Over that span, he's allowed 14 runs on 42 hits and 23 walks over 49.1 innings pitched. He's held a 2.55 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, and .228/.311/.331 opposing slash.


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EXPECTED FUTURE:

The Angels took the quick route with Wood in his early career, and it shouldn't stop now. He's made two trips to High-A, which is where he most likely should start his 2015 season. However, don't be surprised if he makes a quick leap to Double-A before the mid-season mark of next year.

Wood's future with the Angels has a question mark. He's had injuries, and that has set him back from his original estimated time arrival to the show. He walks a few too many guys and allows a few too many extra base hits, which may mean he's destined for the bullpen. This next season should be a large making point when it comes to this situation, however, it doesn't effect his ETA much. If a starter, Wood should make the bigs by the 2017 season, and if a reliever, should be in the show by 2016.




For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, their prospects, and our Top 100 Prospects Countdown, follow us on Twitter, @AngelsOnScout.


Taylor Blake Ward is a Senior Publisher for InsideTheHalos.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.




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