At the end of March, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed right handed reliever Tim Wood to a minor league deal, shortly after he was released by the Washington Nationals. Wood threw 27.2 innings in the majors in 2010, with a 5.53 ERA, and coming in to the 2010 season, he had a 4.02 ERA in 53.2 innings at the AAA level.
In his first outing for Indianapolis, Wood was hit pretty hard, allowing three runs on three hits in an inning of work. Since then he’s made four appearances, allowing one run in 4.2 innings, striking out six in that span. That includes 1.1 perfect innings today, with two strikeouts, getting the save for Indianapolis. The most impressive thing about Wood so far has been his velocity.
In the past, Wood has touched 97 MPH with his fastball. I received a report today that Wood hit 97 in his two shutout innings on Saturday, and in today’s game he was sitting at 95 MPH, and hit 98 MPH two times. His slider was 84-86 MPH, which is a good compliment to his fastball.
If Wood can continue this success, and show that his first outing was just a fluke, he could be a good addition to the major league bullpen at some point this season. He’s had success in the majors before, with a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 innings in 2009, although his biggest issue has been a lack of control, with a 26:25 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. Wood hasn’t had that trouble so far, with a 7:2 K/BB ratio in 5.2 innings, although he had a 49:21 K/BB ratio in 53.2 innings at the AAA level heading in to this season, which means the question remains as to whether he can avoid the control issues in the majors. He’s definitely a sleeper relief option to keep an eye on.