ERIC WOOD, THIRD BASEMAN
|Born: November 22, 1992
Drafted: 6th Round, 196th Overall, 2012
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: Blinn College (TX JC)
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|The Pirates drafted aggressively in the first five rounds of the 2012 draft, so they may have been trying to save a little money with Wood, who wasn’t listed among Baseball America’s top 500 draft prospects. He’s from Canada and was drafted by the Athletics out of high school in 2011, but didn’t sign. He played third as well as pitching a little for Blinn. He has some power potential due to good bat speed, but the power hasn’t shown up in games yet. His defense can be shaky at times and he doesn’t run well. Judging from some comments by his coach, the team originally considered Wood more of a pitcher, but he won the team’s HR-hitting contest and ended up playing third regularly. Wood signed right after the draft for $100,000, which was a little more than half the slot amount.
Wood started off in the GCL and hit well, showing good power. He played well enough that the Pirates chose to play him at third and Edwin Espinal at first in the playoffs, which forced Stetson Allie to the bench. The Pirates promoted him briefly to State College. He struggled to make contact there, but it was only a small number of at-bats.
Wood was the regular thirdbaseman at West Virginia. He got off to a strong start, hitting 282/333/482 in April, but he slumped badly after that. He hit only two HRs after April and none in the second half. He did rebound a little in August, hitting 268/344/375 and improving his plate discipline dramatically, although he got into only 15 games that month. Wood missed time with minor injuries at several points during the season. He struggled against LHPs, batting only 228/282/241, with just one extra base hit in 79 ABs. He hit 263/323/393 against RHPs. Wood had significant problems on defense, posting a dismal fielding percentage of .873.
Wood was hurt at the start of the season, but took over at third for Bradenton in mid-April. He made good progress over the previous season despite moving to a much tougher league for hitters. He benefited a little from McKechnie Field, which is the best hitters park in the most extreme pitchers league in the minors: Wood had a .772 OPS at home and .710 on the road. Still, he improved his walk and K rates, and improved greatly as the season progressed. He had a .625 OPS in the season’s first half and .831 in the second half. He had a reverse platoon split, with a .771 OPS against RHPs and .663 against LHPs. He continued to struggle with errors, posting a .918 fielding percentage.
Wood was the primary third baseman at Altoona. He struggled all year, which led to him getting less than everyday playing time. For much of the season, Edward Salcedo and Dan Gamache got time at third, and late in the season the Pirates sometimes started Max Moroff there to increase his versatility. Defensively, Wood still had problems with errors, although his range seems to be improving. His hitting took a large step backward, as he had increased trouble making contact and the power disappeared. He again had a reverse platoon split, although he didn’t hit anybody well, with .624 OPS against RHPs and .572 against LHPs.
The Pirates sent Wood back to Altoona and he got off to a slow start, hitting 213/279/426 in April. He improved in May and, in June and July, broke out with a 273/372/503 batting line, with ten HRs. He slowed down a little, but still hit 250/361/424 in August before going 2-for-18 in September. His 16 HRs were one more than he’d hit in four previous seasons as a pro, as the power he’d shown in batting practice started showing up in games. The added power wasn’t the only improvement for Wood, as he struck out the same number of times as the year before in nearly 70 fewer ABs and greatly increased his walk rate. He hit LHPs hard, with a 273/317/519 line, while he had a 243/344/425 line against RHPs. Wood also played much better defensively, showing better actions around third and cut his error rate in half.
Despite his 2016 showing and a very strong stint in the Arizona Fall League, the Pirates left Wood unprotected for the Rule 5 draft and he wasn’t drafted. That probably showed that scouts weren’t buying into his 2016 season. He got off to a slow start in AAA, batting 179/269/373 in April. He started hitting for good power in May, though, and had a big month of June, batting 323/376/527. After that he slumped, hitting just 210/276/395 the rest of the way, with strikeouts in over a third of his ABs. He had exactly the same OPS against LHPs and RHPs. Wood played third most of the time, but also got into 26 games at first and 19 in the outfield corners.
Wood returned to Indianapolis and served in a utility role. With Jose Osuna trying to learn third base, Wood spent most of his time in right and a little at first. He started only ten games at third. He also missed several weeks in July with an injury. Wood had a good year at the plate, with his best OPS apart from rookie ball. He mashed LHPs for a .921 OPS.
Wood became a free agent after the 2018 season. He signed with a team in Taiwan, but was released after two games when he had an altercation with the manager. The Pirates then signed him to a minor league contract for 2019. He served in a corner utility role at Indianapolis, playing mostly right and a little at first and third. He also missed most of July. His hitting fell off from the previous year.
Wood will be a free agent again after the season.
|2019: Minor league contract.
|Signing Bonus: $100,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|June 8, 2011: Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 37th round, 1126th overall pick.
June 5, 2012: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 6th round, 196th overall pick; signed on June 13.
November 2, 2018: Became a free agent.
March 28, 2019: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates.