MLBDD is starting a new section this week entitled, X-Factor, designed to identify each teams X-Factor for the 2010 season. What this means is MLBDD will pick a player who at the moment may be under the radar, but could have a huge impact on his teams chances if he can play beyond expectations.
This week we will start with the Angels. The Angels have a very solid all-around lineup and are competing in a division that has been there's to loose for the past several seasons.
Their X-factor for the Angels this season is certainly third baseman Brandon Wood. Wood, 25, finally will get an opportunity to play everyday for the Angels.
Wood caught national attention in 2005 when he hit .321 in 130 games with 43 home runs, .383 on-base percentage, and 128 strike outs to 48 walks. This was his first display of ridiculous power and an advanced approach at the plate.
There was talk in 2007 that perhaps Wood could make the club at some point and ultimately take over at the position. Unfortunately for him, at least at the time, was that Wood was blocked by Chone Figgins, a solid fielder and a .291 career hitter.
Manager Mike Scoscia says it best:
"We see the same potential, the same upside," the manager says. "Anytime a young player is trying to break into a championship-caliber lineup on a team that has expectations of being a contender, you have to wait for that opportunity to emerge.
Wood would make 13 appearances in 2007, but it was the beginning of three years between Triple-A and the majors. Wood would go on to compile .287 average in Triple-A over the three seasons with 76 home runs, but would only hit .192 in 224 major league at-bats.
Despite the poor average, expectations are high for the young third baseman who feels less pressure than in previous seasons.
"The thing I’ve been asked a lot this spring is if there is a lot of pressure on me trying to win a job. I’ve felt zero pressure," says Wood, who is batting .263 with a .364 on-base percentage in the Cactus
Wood is going to be surrounded by hitters with playoff experience who should help Wood find good at-bats. Wood, who has improved his strikeout rate over the past three seasons (18.7 percent in '09), could help the Angels push ahead of the dangerous Rangers and Mariners, who could emerge as serious contenders in the AL West.