Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 Travis Wood

After losing the battle for the Cincinnati Reds 5th starter job with Mike Leake, Travis Wood just put his head down, went back to the minors, and continued to build on his strong 2009 with another more than solid season. After 98 strong IP at AAA Louisville, the Reds are bringing Wood up to make his Major League debut tomorrow against the Cubs.

Wood's minor league numbers this year contain many of the positive markers I like to see from a young pitcher. His K/9 is almost 9.0, his walks are under 3.0, and he's allowed less than a HR per nine IP. That HR rate is still a little high, and I could see Wood struggling somewhat with the long ball out of the gate. However, I don't see it as a big problem.

Wood is a smallish lefty (5-11, 165) who doesn't throw hard but knows how to pitch. His fastball sits in the 88-91 MPH range but his bread-and-butter is a nasty change that Wood isn't afraid to throw at any point in the count. Entering this year, the scouting reports on his curve were mixed and some scouts thought that refinement of this pitch would be the difference between Wood having a sustainable MLB career or not. I haven't seen enough data on Wood to know if this is something that he's worked out or not.

Wood is definitely someone who I think is worth a FAAB throw. I can see him taking his lumps in the Majors, but I can also see him providing a something between a 3.50 and a 4.00 ERA if he sticks. He's murder on LHB, and while he won't be as much of a shutdown lefty in the bigs, it's not hard to imagine him giving lefties fits in the Majors as well, at least initially.


jasonkuo said...

What do you think his chances are of sticking around after Volquez comes back?

Gypsy Soul said...

Hi Mike, how goes it? Just wondering if you saw Jack Moore's article on fangraphs re Johan Santana? His main point is that "Santana looks as if he’s having a fantastic year on the surface, but signs are pointing to a harsh decline. High contact rates and low groundball rates are recipes for disaster, and that’s what Santana’s stuff is generating right now." He noted that, "This year, though, hitters are making more contact than ever, but Johan is surviving on BABIP luck (.268) and a career low HR/FB% (5.5)".

Thanks and just want to once more tell you how much I appreciate all the time you spend on these postings and how much myelf, and friends, enjoy them. thanks. Carter

Gypsy Soul said...

Forgot to say that I just wondered if you have a different take on this?

Toz said...

Jason, I think it will be difficult to keep Wood up once Volquez is back, no matter how well Wood pitches in the interim. It looks as though Volquez will be back on July 8. Leake has pitched well enough to stay in the rotation (though I suspect some severe regression may be in order in the humid summer months, particularly with the high walk rate), and the Reds' worst pitcher is Harang, who is going nowhere.

Volquez has the potential, if healthy and if he can find the strike zone, to carry the team into the playoffs. Of course, if he struggles or appears to be unhealthy, Wood could wind up back in the rotation, or the Reds could look for a mid-tier trade solution.