Brandon of the d’Urbervilles
Being a Major League franchise’s top prospect can’t be easy. With the big money post-draft signing bonuses, a constantly lecherous media hype and swarms of unwaveringly moody fans who want-want-want now-now-now, I imagine the amount of pressure that young, talented baseballers put on themselves is beyond my pedestrian understanding.
But I do know this: every great once in a while, that young talent becomes Jason Heyward. Most of the time, however, that talent ends up being Felix Pie… or Cameron Maybin… or Todd Van Poppel.
Brandon Wood is in a class all by himself.
Drafted in 2003, the buzz around Wood (the Angels’ top prospect for at least six years now) has been simmering with whispers of his immense, raw talent evidenced as he plowed through and destroyed the minor leagues. But despite the club’s confidence in his abilities, Wood has been unable to escape the scary truth: he just hasn’t hit at the Big League level.
The Angels designated him for assignment on Tuesday. By all accounts, it was a sad departure, for both he and the club.
But one of the things I love about baseball is that it is always eager to offer a second chance. Perhaps Wood will get picked up by a team that will give him a starting job, no questions asked. Perhaps the pressure that has built up and the disappointment that lingers over him can be brushed aside, forgotten. Perhaps Wood will allow himself to just be Brandon, and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, wants, needs.
If he does that, maybe his talent will shine.
If things don’t work out, at least he can say he gave it his very best.
And there is absolutely no shame in that.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.