Comparing Brandon Wood to Past Angel 3Bmen

Lyle Spencer, the mlb.com reporter for the Angels, has a blog post up discussing the comparisons people are making when it comes to Brandon Wood. Apparently, many “fans and insiders” keep comparing him to Dallas McPherson, and Mr. Spencer believes Troy Glaus is the more appropriate comparison. Why we’re comparing either of them to a person with only 236 PA in his major league career is beyond me, but let’s go with it for the moment.

Comparing Glaus and Wood physically, as Spencer does in his post, seems a bit of a stretch to me. While Glaus is only two inches taller than Wood, he’s got a good 30 pounds on him. Put another way, if these men both decided to go into Mixed Martial Arts, Wood would be a Light Heavyweight, and Glaus would be firmly in the Heavyweight division. Glaus is simply a big guy. Spencer calls him a “tall, rangy shortstop” that was moved to third, but again, this is a bit of a stretch. Since 1998, when Glaus first entered the Angels’ minor league system, he’s played exactly 18 games at SS. Of those 18, only 8 did he actually start the game at SS, and all those were in Toronto in 2006. This was also done mostly when they were facing an NL team, and couldn’t put Glaus in the DH spot, and when a fly ball pitcher was on the mound, giving the SS version of Glaus as few fielding chances as they possibly could.

On the flip side of this, Wood has already started more games at SS in his almost nonexistent ML career than Glaus, and he has almost 600 games at the position in the minors. Wood, in fact, is almost the opposite of Glaus… a SS that is being moved to 3B, whereas 3B was clearly where Glaus belonged. All of this is basically to say, comparing Wood and Glaus because they both have played at SS and are being moved to 3B and both are tall guys isn’t really telling us much. Lots of players get moved around. No one compared Skip Schumaker to Alfonso Soriano when he went from a corner OF spot to 2B, and rightfully so. If Troy Glaus had played the early years of his career with the Marlins instead of the Angels, this is a comparison that is never even thought of.

And, really, the same applies to McPherson. The guy had some real potential, and maybe still does, but clearly injuries was his undoing. Wood doesn’t have much of an injury history, as Spencer points out, and I see nothing outside of the position and uniform that gives any reason to compare Wood and McPherson. All three guys played for the Angels, all three guys had their share of strikeouts, all three guys had power or power potential… but that could also describe a lot of other 3B around the league.

Brandon Wood is not Troy Glaus or Dallas McPherson. He is likely not going to have the career trajectory of either of them. Spencer is right when he says it’s a process, and that we shouldn’t expect results overnight. He goes a bit off the rails when he talks about how Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt had rookie numbers close to what Glaus did, the implication being that putting up rookie numbers like he expects Wood to means he could still turn out to be one of the best 3B ever. When you put the names Robinson and Schmidt next to Glaus and Wood, it seems to be that it’s a fairly transparent attempt to inspire some hope in Angels fans, and if too many people get that idea in their head it may backfire when Wood doesn’t turn out to be the second coming of Brooks Robinson. Let’s worry about replacing Chone Figgins production first.

One thing I should say in closing. There are projection systems out there (PECOTA is the one I’m referencing here, I believe) that uses a system of comparing a players performance to thousands of other players, and building a projection off of that. This is a legitimate system, instead of just saying “this Angels 3B is like this other 3B who just so happened to play for the Angels too, instead of this other 3B who, imagine that, also played for the Angels.” The projection systems are not about comparing players from the same team’s recent history, but instead from a myriad of teams and eras, and my distaste for one should not be confused with dislike of all systems like that.

(Nate Proctor is the lead writer for Halo Hangout.  You can stay up to date on all of Nate’s work by following him on TwitterFacebook, or by way of the Halo Hangout RSS feed.)

Topics: Brandon Wood, Brooks Robinson, Dallas McPherson, Mike Schmidt, PECOTA, Shortstop, Third Base, Troy Glaus

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