Prospect Countdown #64 : Austin Wood

Top 100 Los Angeles Angels' Prospects Countdown, #64 : Right-Handed Pitcher, Austin Wood (photo : Jerry Espinoza)

Austin Wood, Right-Handed Pitcher

HT : 6'4
WT : 230
DOB : July 11, 1990 (25), in Alamogordo, New Mexico
Throws : Right
Bats : Right
School : University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
Acquired : Drafted in 6th Round of 2011 MLB Draft
Last Year's Ranking : #36


Injuries have taken their toll on the career of Austin Wood. Once the premier of promise for the Los Angeles Angels farm system, Wood has fallen from grace due to these injuries. However, a full season with full health has revived the perception of the flame-throwing Wood, and a rebound year could put turn that promise into fullfilment in a short amount of time.


SCOUTING REPORT:

Wood has been known for his fastball since high school, putting up triple digit numbers for years. Most nights, you'll see Wood pitch around 96-98 MPH, touching 99-100 at times. His triple digit days may be behind him, despite reports saying he's been in the range last season, but his fastball comes in quick and straight which could be an easy adjustment for basebll's premier hitters - Major Leaguers.

Wood uses his fastball to his advantage, elevating it to get batters to chase. This can result in leaving the ball up around the mid section of the plate, allowing for easy and hard contact. Wood has utlized a two-seamer recently to not only be affective against left-handed hitters, but also create a new look for keep batters guessing. This pitch comes in the low 90's, usually around 91-94.

The hard-hurling righty has a nice trio of off-speed offerings in a slider, curve and changeup. His slider is likely the best of the three, coming in with a hard bite and late drop. Wood is still developing his curveball. As for his changeup, he uses it to set up his fastball and slider on two-strike counts. It comes in with a heavy drop around the low 80's, which gives him an unfair advantage against batters. Wood has a knack for dropping his changeup after firing off a few high 90's fastball, creating some humorous swing and misses.

Wood has clean mechanics, using good arm angles and arm speed to create deception with his off-speed pitches. His problems fall on an inconsistent release point and landing spot. He has a tendency to fall off the mound and open up to his front side, which has resulted in command problems. As these problems arise, so do his control problems. Wood will need to clean up his inconsistencies to become a full polished Major Leaguer with great stuff.

Wood is a smart pitcher, learning from one of the best pitch guru's around, Tom House. House taught him how to begin with his lower half and stay deceptive while maintaining his velocity with good arm strength. Wood was never a "thrower" at any point beyond high school, and was always a knowledgable pitcher. Wood has a good ability to use his large frame to stay healthy throughout a game, and force a downward angle on his pitches.

Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com


STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN:

A three-letter winner at Niceville High School, Wood earned Third-Team All-American and First-Team All-Region honors during the 2007 season. Wood held a 6-2 record, 1.35 ERA and struck out 91 batters in 54 innings during his senior year at Niceville, helping him be named an All-State honorable mention and member of the Connie Mack World Championship.

Wood spent two seasons between Florida State and St. Petersburg Community College, where he held a 3-4 record and 5.34 ERA. Despite what would be poor numbers in professional ball, Wood held bats to just over a hit per innings, while walking 6.3 per nine and striking out 55 batters in 65.2 innings. In summer ball following his time at St. Pete C.C., Wood pitche in the Cape Cod League, being named an All-Star after posting a 0.58 ERA and 3-0 record.

In his final collegiate year, Wood pitched 14 games for USC, holding a 5-7 record and 5.61 ERA over 77 innings. Wood walked just 34 while striking out 50 his junior year, and held a 1.610 WHIP with a .301 opposing average. Wood's strongest performances came against Pac-12 opponents, where he went six and one/third of one run ball against Oregon, and eight innings of one run ball against ranked Stanford.

Wood pitched just two games after being drafted, and then saw a full season in Single-A, where he was roughed up to kick the season off. He finished the year with a 4.79 ERA and 1.543 WHIP, but limited bats to 25 runs in his final 13 starts, holding a 3.18 ERA and .641 opposing OPS.

Due to injuries, Wood only pitched in 16 games between 2013 and 2014, mixing time between AZL and High-A. Wood combined for a 2.55 ERA and 1.318 WHIP over those two seasons, but saw 2014 as a highlight return where he allowed just three runs and 13 hits in 23.1 innings.

In his first full season since 2012, Wood spent all of last year in Double-A where inconsistencies tagged him for weaker statistics. Relieving for most of the season, Wood held a 3.95 ERA, while also attaining an 8-5 record. Wood did a good job of limiting base runners with a 1.431 WHIP helped by an opposing .682 OPS.

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EXPECTED FUTURE:

There's many questions that pop up with Austin Wood. He has serious stuff on the mound, but is too inconsistent to put him in an elite category and health problems have really derailed his progress. He spent all of last season in Double-A and put up decent numbers which should mean he lands in Triple-A Salt Lake at season's beginning for 2016. However, Double-A could be a nice place to correct some mechanical problems.

Wood has Major League stuff on the mound. There's no denying that when he was drafted, the plan was to fast track him to the top, but it just didn't work. He's become a set reliever, and has likely seen his last days as a starter. With that said, it gives him the opportunity to flash his upper 90's fastball with ease. Depending on his success in Triple-A, Wood could see Major League time by the 2016 season, but it will take a lot of work to get to that point.



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This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.



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