Brandon of the d’Urbervilles

angry mob.jpgBeing 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.

brandon wood sad.jpgIn 464 at-bats spread over 173 games in five years, dude has managed an embarrassingly flaccid .168 batting average, and I’m sure no one is more upset about that than Wood himself.

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.

Peace,

Jeff

the fly pod.jpg

10 Comments

Aww. I feel bad when they don’t live up to their expectations. Whenever I hear stories like this, I always think of Drew Henson. What a bust.
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

As much as I think Scioscia made the right decision with Brandon Wood, I really hope he does get a second chance somewhere. Maybe without all of the second coming of Troy Glaus expectations he can filter all of the advice and find his swing again. He’s actually a good defensive short stop who can play third and first, though not as well. It just that batting average…but when he does get ahold of one, it’s pretty.
One does wonder, however, exactly what you are insinuating about the Angels handling of young Master Wood with the literary allusion in your title, good sir. ;)
Kristen
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

Next spectacle: Bryce Harper. He made the Sports Illustrated cover at age 16…where does he go from there?
Catherine
http://chisoxblog.mlblogs.com/

I agree with Cathrine, the media never helps these situations, especially when these guys are so young and they already have them slated for the HOF. A new organization can do wonders for some players, maybe the right hitting coach or something. Good luck to him.
–Mike
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Virginia — Yeah, with those sorts of expectations, it’s a wonder they don’t all fail, really.
Kristen — The allusion here is to how Tess’ actions were held under the proverbial microscope. An essentially good woman, she does something that the mob doesn’t like and they’re all over her…. I feel Brandon’s was a similar fate. With the Halos at least.
Catherine — Good question. The Nats have been good at getting the real deal so we’ll see!
Mike — Looks like the Pirates are all over him. Hope it works out.
–Jeff

Wood got a legitimate shot from the Angels and failed. He’s not as bad as .168—someone who hit that well in the minors can’t be—but he’s not that much better either.
http://paullebowitz.com.previewyoursite.com/blog/?p=978

Prince — Someone will give him a chance… after that, it’s up to him.
Kristen — Next time I’ll make sure to add more rape to my allusions ;-) Hehehe… you’re right about the support. The loud ones got the attention. That LA Times article I linked here really shows the emotions involved, from both parties. So sad… but good to know that it ain’t the end of the world.
–Jeff

This guy has been historically bad in the Majors — it’s not just the .168 average that stands out, it’s almost as much the 13 walks against 153 strikeouts. Ugh.
That said, he’s young and will get another shot. If he hasn’t figured it out by now, I wouldn’t bet on it happening anytime in the future though.
http://letsplay162.mlblogs.com/

Jeremy — Yeah, gonna take some patience at the plate. A lack of patience can be excused if dude hits 30 bombs and drives in 100, otherwise, it’s best to take those walks when they’re there.
–Jeff

Jeff – Ha ha ha, yeah, that’s where I thought you were going with this. At least you left the rape and psychological cruelty out of your allusion, I suppose. In all seriousness, a lot of the fans were rough on Brandon Wood. A lot of us were patient and supportive too, but guess who’s always louder? I think that the Angels organization, however, was extremely patient, caring and gave him every opportunity. Some things just don’t work out. The Pirates eh? That could be good move for both parties.
Kristen
http://blithescribe.mlblogs.com/

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