Kansas City has been an active destination for minor league free agents early on this offseason, as the team has already brought aboard a handful of players on low-risk decisions. According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, you can add another name to the list, though this one comes with the history of having once been among the top prospects in all of baseball. Former Los Angeles Angels third baseman Brandon Wood has reportedly agreed to a minor league deal with the Royals. It is unclear if the deal includes an invitation to Spring Training.
In 272 games in the Major Leagues over parts of five seasons, Wood has hit a mere .186/.225/.289 with just 36 extra base hits over 751 plate appearances. He’s seem ample time at both third base and shortstop, proving limited defensively at both positions. Overall the production is a far cry from that which Wood became known for during his minor league career.
Originally taken in the 2003 Draft by the Angels, Wood hit well from the start of his professional career but saw things take a major leap forward during the 2005 season. With High-A Rancho Cucamonga he hit .321/.381/.667 over 614 plate appearances with 53 doubles, 43 HR, and 116 RBI. Wood was the talk of baseball, even earning a jump onto the Angels’ Triple-A playoff roster at season’s end. Baseball America bumped him from the 89th to 3rd best prospect in baseball that following winter.
Over the next four seasons he’d continue to be a force offensively, averaging 25 HR and 75 RBI a year, though he never regained the all around power spike he had during the 2005 campaign. He’d have short stints in Los Angeles, never producing enough to warrant more playing time. Out of options, the Pittsburgh Pirates plucked Wood off of waivers in late April 2011. He’d sign a minor league deal with the Colorado Rockies a year ago, going on to bat just .259/.313/.409 with 10 HR and 64 RBI over 438 plate appearances.
Wood could prove to be a nice pickup for the Royals, though he shouldn’t be counted on for anything more than filling out the Triple-A roster. He’ll turn 28 early in Spring Training, so there is still a sliver of hope that he can harness some of the potential he once had and develop into a reliable bench option but that is likely a best-case scenario situation.