Brandon Wood admitted earlier this week that he sought out hitting tips from Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long. He also as you would expect said the fact that he reached out to Long was not an indication of any displeasure with Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher. Really Brandon? That’ s almost like the married man cheating on his wife but professing his love for her and the marriage the next morning. If Wood was happy with the Micks tutelage there would be no reason to cheat , which is in essence what he did by even speaking with Long.
So what did Wood learn from his chats with the Yanks hitting mentor ? Should Halo fans expect to see the lively bat Wood showed in the minors , or just more of the over matched flailing we saw in 2010?
There was one alarming quote from Brandon himself in the article.
” There’s a big difference between the swing I had in 2005, 2006 to last year,” Wood said. “It was the fear of striking out. With thoughts from talking to Mickey and everybody in the organization, I made adjustments to try and put the ball in play. It became more defensive”.
Whether this is really the approach the Angels and Hatcher recommended for Wood to take is not important. The first rule of communication is that however the recipient interprets the message from the communicator determines what was said. So in Brandon Wood’s mind the Angels wanted him to become a contact hitter. I can all but guarantee neither Scioscia , Hatcher or anyone else with the Angels view Wood as a contact table setting type, but most times in 2010 that is how Wood appeared. He no longer attacked the strike zone nor set himself up in favorable counts where he could drive the ball and unleash the pop that saw him hit over 100 extra base hits in the Minors. Wood morphed into a singles hitter. Tallying only 6 extra base hits ( 4 Hr , 2 doubles) in 226 at bats!
So what advice did Wood get to help him drive the ball again? Wood said Long gave him some ideas to help shorten up his swing and better incorporate using his lower half, which for most hitters is the key to driving the ball. Here’s hoping that Wood can utilize some of Long’s advice and also that the Halos re-communicate to him their desire for him to drive the baseball. I think Brandon’s comments make it clear that this point was not driven home. If Wood can have a great spring he could go along way to earning some regular playing time at the start of the season.
Whether or not that’s a good thing is anyones guess.
Thank you for reading the Halo Hangout blog! We have a new twitter page! Follow us at The Official Halo Hangout Twitter Page for the latest in LA Angels and Major League Baseball news! You can also follow us on Facebook at The Official Halo Hangout Facebook Page