#28 Blake Wood
Drafted: 3rd Round, Pick #77 in 2006 Rule IV Draft
College: Georgia Tech
ETA: September 2010
In 2008 and 2009, Wood was featured in Baseball America's top ten for the Kansas City Royals, however after a disappointed 2009 campaign he should drop into the twenties. The potential is still there, but injuries and inconsistency are starting to hurt the perceptions of him as a legitimate major league rotation prospect. Wood features the body of a durable starter with his 6-4, 200+ pound frame, but if he doesn't put together a decent 2010 I expect him to be moved to the pain where he could potentially excel.
Wood features a mid 90s fastball, and at times a plus curveball and changeup. What he lacks is command. While he hasn't pitched as well as many hoped he still has just as good or better shot than others from the pitching crop that arrived in Springdale a couple of years ago (Julio Cesar Pimentel, Dan Cortes, and Blake Johnson). There was also a pitcher by the name of Carlos Rosa in AA when Wood arrived, who in 2008 began the year in the Natural rotation and posted great numbers before ultimately being moved to the pen. Unlike Rosa I believe Wood would be durable enough to endure a rotation spot if his results warrant it. But I expect Wood to be like Rosa in that he ultimately is moved to the pen, except the reason in Wood's case will be lack of consistency as a starter.
There is still a possibility that Wood develops into a mid rotation guy for the Royals, but I don't think that is what will happen. Instead I think Wood will put together an average 2010, and then get a call up in September and by opening day next season will be viewed as either a bullpen guy with above average setup man potential or a guy with an outside shot at the fifth starter spot.