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Red Report - Blake Wood

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An often times not-horrible part of the 2016 bullpen looks likely to return in 2017.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Fast Facts

Position: Relief Pitcher
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 6’5” Weight: 240 lbs.

High School: North Gwinnett High School (Suwanee, GA)
College: Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Georgia)

Organizational Information

Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 3rd round of the 2006 amateur draft.
Signed June 22, 2006
Debut: May 12, 2010
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 2010 season
2017 Contract Status: Signed through 2017, 1yr/$1.28m
Arb Eligible: 2018
Free Agent: 2019

Transactions

June 6, 2006: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 3rd round of the 2006 amateur draft. Player signed June 22, 2006.
November 2, 2012: Selected off waivers by the Cleveland Indians from the Kansas City Royals.
June 2, 2014: Selected off waivers by the Kansas City Royals from the Cleveland Indians.
September 29, 2014: Granted Free Agency.
November 18, 2014: Signed as a Free Agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
November 6, 2015: Granted Free Agency.
November 20, 2015: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cincinnati Reds.

Career Stats

2016 Pitch/fx Data and Charts and Graphs and Colors

Scouting GIFs

Wait...

Yeah, I’m pretty sure there isn’t one Blake Wood delivery gif on the internet. I’m so very sorry. All things considered, the above may be more athletically pleasing, anyhow.

2017 Projections

SOURCE IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR
SOURCE IP ERA FIP WHIP K/9 BB/9 HR/9 fWAR
Depth Charts 45.0 3.76 3.79 1.33 10.08 4.23 0.93 0.3
Steamer 45.0 3.63 3.77 1.34 9.82 4.25 0.89 0.4
ZiPS 55 3.88 3.81 1.33 10.35 4.20 0.97 0.4

Outlook

The Reds bullpen was bad in 2016. Historically bad. Blake Wood was sometimes bad, yes, but often times he wasn’t. Of relievers, only Raisel Iglesias pitched more innings than Wood (though Iglesias also started five games at the beginning of the season). Ross Ohlendorf and Tony Cingrani finished more games than Wood, but both had higher ERAs and higher FIPs, suggesting it wasn’t just results that made Wood the better pitcher.

Wood will be bringing his powerful right arm back for 2017, though it should be in a more inconsequential role as the Reds hope to lean on Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen for high-leverage, multi-inning appearances should both of them hold up. Drew Storen was also added to take some of the pressure off of guys like Wood and Cingrani in the later portions of the game, so it’s unlikely that Wood will see his usage climb to the 70+ innings for the second year in a row. If he is counted on that much, chances are the Reds bullpen is in a bad way once again.

That’s not to say that Blake doesn’t have talent. The big, tall, right-hander has a powerful fastball that often flirts with triple-digits. That, paired with a strong sinker and decent slider, Wood has the stuff to strike people out. His 9.5 K/9 suggests that there’s stuff to work with here.

He is hittable, though, and sometimes that fastball, while fast, also comes in flat, lending itself to be deposited into the seats. His 4.5 BB/9 is too high, too, but at this point, it’s not likely that gets much better. This is pretty much the pitcher he’s been since advancing to the majors in 2010 with the Royals.

Still, every team has a guy like this in their bullpen and there’s value to it, so long as you don’t have to put it out there in the 8th inning like the Reds too many times did. He’s an upgrade to Ross Ohlendorf’s role (who was used well too often, too). Wood will provide plenty of strikeouts in 2017, but the difference this year is that the team should have the arms to protect him from when he doesn’t have it going.

And that’s a mighty big step from where they were last year.