(Photo: Wendell Davis, USA TODAY Sports)
2020 season age: 26 – Throws: Right – Bats: Right – Contract: – $555,000 (Pre-Arb – estimate Spotrac)
2019 in review: Wood totaled 45.1 innings in 2019 with a 2.98 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 12 walks. The Indians acquired him along with INF Christian Arroyo in exchange for minor league OF Ruben Cardenas. 16.1 of his innings came in Cleveland where he posted a 3.86 ERA with 15 strikeouts and five walks. He also threw 15 more Triple-A innings between Cleveland and Tampa Bay with a 6.00 ERA.
Beyond the stats: Wood’s fastball ranked in the 92nd percentile in spin in 2019 but averaged just 93.6 mph. His fastball spin was 2492 and Bauer Units (named after Trevor Bauer, developed at Driveline) divides spin rate by fastball velocity. The more velocity, presumably the more spin on a fastball. 24 BU is considered average, so Wood’s BU on his fastball is 26.62. That looks to be slightly above average and he gets about 7% more vertical movement on his curveball than the rest of the league. High spin fastball’s up in the zone and curveball’s low are en vogue right now and give Wood some weapons to work with. His slider spin is also 2555, which by itself isn’t much of an explainer more than a number. More spin is presumably good, but with a pitch like the slider, spin axis and efficiency are more telling numbers about its effectiveness. But there are some tools to like about Wood.
On the mound: In addition to the fastball, curveball and slider, Wood also throws a changeup that had a wOBA of just .246 last year. Both his curve and changeup limited batters to a lower wOBA than the slider and fastball. It’s a nice pitch mix for a reliever, though he doesn’t miss many bats, doesn’t have more than average command and he doesn’t excel at keeping the ball on the ground. At 6’1, 175, he’s built like your average reliever. He was a starter in partial parts of three season in the minors as well.
2020 role: One of the reason’s the Rays may have moved Wood was that they had better options in their bullpen and that Wood was also out of minor league options. That means presumably the Indians are going to give him a chance to earn a bullpen spot mostly to preserve their depth and see what he can give them. He’s a decent fit for the first reliever out of the bullpen while trailing or taking over for a starter who doesn’t make it through five or six full innings. I wouldn’t expect him to be used in anything near high leverage unless something changes, if he does indeed earn a spot.
Fantasy impact: I don’t think Wood is guaranteed a job out of spring training, though being out of options probably means the Indians will give him every chance to claim a spot. But even if he has a job, he doesn’t miss enough bats, doesn’t appear to be someone in line for high leverage work at this writing so you’re not going to get saves, holds or strikeouts from Wood. That means you don’t need to read this section about him because he’s about fourth or in line for the Indians closers role at this point and doesn’t carry any fantasy value right now.