A fighter is at his fiercest and his most dangerous when he is backed into a corner with ..."/> A fighter is at his fiercest and his most dangerous when he is backed into a corner with ..."/>

Last Chance For Romance…


A fighter is at his fiercest and his most dangerous when he is backed into a corner with no other alternative but to strike and strike to kill.  When there are no other options, no safe getaway, and no second chances… that is when you will truly see what a fighter is made of.

Brandon Wood, Los Angeles Angels (of wherever) third baseman is out of options.  This spring was a literal fight or flight for Wood, as he is out of time and cannot be sent back down to the minors (without being placed onto waivers).  The entire baseball world was overzealous for the kid from Texas who looked like he was going to be the second coming of Troy Glaus and the Angels biggest power contributor for many years to come.

Somewhere between his 2009 season in Salt Lake and his 2010 season when the Angels offered him a shot at taking over full time at third base on the big league roster, Brandon lost his edge.  In spring training last year, the Halos gave him every opportunity to not only acclamate to his newly acquired role, but to show the organization and the world just what we had all been hearing about… Power!  A one time 43 HR hitter in A ball, and an average 25 HR/.550 SLG hitter in AAA (Salt Lake ’07 to ’09), Wood certainly had the stuff power hitters are made of.

In the spring of 2010, after the loss of Chone Figgins, the Angels went on the hunt for their everyday cornerman, and thought they had found it in the 6’3″ power-hitting shortstop.  Wood did little to impress in Tempe in 2010 hitting only 1 homerun in 72 at bats, not exactly what Scioscia was looking for.  He hit for an average of .278 and a slugging percentage of only .431 (his lowest in 5 years). With little choice, the Angels gave the starting job to Wood, hoping that he would be able to adjust on the fly and make the corrections along the way to fix his swing.

Needless to say, that was anything but the case.

Wood’s 2010 season was plagued by a trip back to AAA, a hole in his swing, and perhaps a case of the rookie jitters.  He played 81 games with the big league club last season, and batted a mere .146.  He was swinging for the fences, that’s for certain, but in 243 plate appearances he hit just 4 homeruns and struck out a mind blowing 71 times.

It seems that the Brandon Wood saga continues, as this power prospect still seems to be a mystery to coaches and fans alike; this spring, Brandon came into camp with a go big or go home attitude, and it has certainly shown.

How will this carry over into the 2011 season is the part of his story that we are all very anxious to see develop.  He showed a glimmer of hope that there may be some power left in his bat afterall, hitting 4 homeruns in Arizona this spring in just 21 games.  Play those numbers out over the course of a regular season, and he would seem to be a viable 25-30 homerun threat again… but we all seem to know Brandon well enough to know better.

Perhaps the pressure is off of Wood now that he doesn’t have to impress anybody.  Perhaps he found the answers this past winter to adjust his focus at the plate and fix his approach.  Perhaps he just feels more comfortable being used in a utility role without the stresses of being an everyday position player.  Or… perhaps Brandon finally realized that it is put up or shut up time.  Whatever the case may be, the Angels still have a powerful young bat in the form of Brandon Wood, and if coming off the bench and only playing every third or fourth day is the best way to get 20 homeruns out of this guy ’til he figures out how to hit in the Majors, then I’d say ride him out as long as you can.

For Brandon’s sake, I hope that proves to be a long ride for the Halos… or someone’s gonna be handed their walking papers. Good luck Brandon!