Being a Major League franchise’s top prospect can’t be easy. With the big money post-draft signing bonuses, a constantly lecherous media hype and swarms of unwaveringly moody fans who want-want-want now-now-now, I imagine the amount of pressure that young, talented baseballers put on themselves is beyond my pedestrian understanding.
But I do know this: every great once in a while, that young talent becomes Jason Heyward. Most of the time, however, that talent ends up being Felix Pie… or Cameron Maybin… or Todd Van Poppel.
Brandon Wood is in a class all by himself.
Drafted in 2003, the buzz around Wood (the Angels’ top prospect for at least six years now) has been simmering with whispers of his immense, raw talent evidenced as he plowed through and destroyed the minor leagues. But despite the club’s confidence in his abilities, Wood has been unable to escape the scary truth: he just hasn’t hit at the Big League level.
The Angels designated him for assignment on Tuesday. By all accounts, it was a sad departure, for both he and the club.
But one of the things I love about baseball is that it is always eager to offer a second chance. Perhaps Wood will get picked up by a team that will give him a starting job, no questions asked. Perhaps the pressure that has built up and the disappointment that lingers over him can be brushed aside, forgotten. Perhaps Wood will allow himself to just be Brandon, and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, wants, needs.
If he does that, maybe his talent will shine.
If things don’t work out, at least he can say he gave it his very best.
And there is absolutely no shame in that.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
But aren’t we going to miss D-train? Haha.
I think every Tigers’ fan was stoked when Dontrelle and Cabrera came over. Sure, we were giving up a potential phenomenon in Maybin but Miggy? The guy just hits. And even though Dontrelle had some issues, he was young enough that it made sense to think he could rediscover his form and again be a dominating pitcher.
A couple years later it hasn’t turned out to be the steal it seemed at the time but, despite wasting all that money on the D-Train, the fact of the matter is that we still have Cabrera and he’s on pace for an MVP season. Look further south and you’ll also notice that Maybin has been a huge bust so far.
Hope springs eternal when you’re a fan and when you look at who Willis’ replacement is, you can’t help but think that maybe we’ll be all right. Sure, Galarraga hasn’t been dominating in every start and has even been roughed up at times. But a guy who has the stuff to throw a perfect game also has the stuff to be a solid addition to the rotation.
Honestly, I’m a little sad to see Willis go. He didn’t pitch great for the Tigers but I always wanted to see the guy do well. Maybe it was his goofy windup or maybe it was his promise as a pitcher but I couldn’t help but like the guy.
So, yes. The D-Train has left D-Town. And even though I won’t miss his abundance of walks and botched starts, I am going to miss the guy himself.
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