Welcome to the 2019 season here at Redleg Nation! Thank you for sharing your time with us.
During the opening day team introduction, did you find yourself having difficulty keeping track of who was who? I did. That’s because in addition to the new manager and coaching staff, about half the current Reds players were not on the opening day roster just a year at the start of the 2018 season. To repeat, about half the current 25 man active roster was not on the 2018 opening day roster! Let’s hope this significant roster rollover yields positive results in 2019 and beyond.
Let’s Meet A Missing Man
One guy missing from the opening day roster will hopefully soon play a large part in making 2019 a turnaround season for the Reds. And no, I’m not loading up for yet another Nick Senzel service time rant…..
The missing man on my mind is lefty Alex Wood. He came to the Reds as part of the off season trade with the Dodgers which sent Homer Bailey off the Reds books. Wood was set to join the Reds rotation giving them what has been an elusive quantity, an established left handed starting pitcher. However, Wood suffered an issue with back spasms early in spring training which will force him to open the season on the
disabled injured list. Fortunately he is expected back in mid April. Here is the breakdown on Wood:
- Alex Wood is 28-years-old.
- The Braves drafted Wood #85 overall in the 2012. He made his MLB debut in 2013 with the Braves.
- In 2015 Wood was traded to the Dodgers in the same 3 team deal (Braves/ Dodgers/ Marlins) which sent current Red Jose Peraza to the Dodgers. Want to really impress folks around the water cooler? Mention that the same deal also sent former Reds Bronson Arroyo (from Braves) and Mat Latos (from Marlins) to the Dodgers.
- Wood’s 2019 salary is $9.65M.
- Wood is eligible to become a free agent after the 2019 season.
Performance to Date
- Wood has made 172 MLB appearances; 129 are as a starter.
- Over his career, Wood has averaged just a tad less than 6 innings per start (5 2/3+).
- Wood’s FIP/ xFIP is 3.42/3.55 as a starter
- Career bWAR 11.6; fWAR 13.7
Wood’s outcome metrics as a starter seem to portend he should fare well at GABP. His ground ball rate is nearly 50%. His strikeout rate is ~22% with a walk rate of ~7%. He sports a 1.22 WHIP, His fly ball rate is around 29% with a HR/FB rate of 10.5% and an HR/9 rate of just 0.85.
Wood’s primary fastball is a sinker. Over his career he has thrown the sinker about 55% of the time at an average speed of around 90. However Wood made a notable change in his repertoire and pitch selection in 2018. He replaced his curve ball with a slider. In 2018 he threw the slider (82 MPH average) just over 30% of the time while decreasing his sinker rate to 43% . His third pitch is a mid 80’s MPH change up.
Alex Wood is not a top of the rotation world beater. He did not came to most of our thoughts when Bob Castellini said the Reds were going to get the pitching. Nonetheless once healthy Wood should provide the Reds with a reliable middle rotation left handed starting pitcher. The Reds have long lacked that commodity in their rotation. If Wood pitches well but the team is not posting strong results, he will be a valuable mid season trade asset. And most of all, isn’t it wonderful that the Reds have enough depth at starting pitching that Wood making a late appearance doesn’t feel like a season killer!
As promised above, there will be no Nick Senzel service time rant here today. Instead I’ll say service time manipulation is a symptom of greater issues with baseball’s compensation system. Baseball appears to be teetering on the precipice of a labor war such as it hasn’t been in 25 years. That meltdown nearly destroyed baseball. MLB needs to make changes to survive and prosper into the future. I have some ideas about alternatives MLB and the MLBPA could pursue. Please let me know in the comments section or on Twitter (@jn_walkerjr) if this is a subject you’d enjoy exploring with me here at Redleg Nation. Go Reds!