Laying The (Alex) Wood

Mike Zarrilli

The Braves' best pitcher in the month of August was a guy pitching in college 15 months ago.

The Braves scout their region of the country better than any other franchise in baseball. So when the club selected Alex Wood with the 85th overall selection of the 2012 Draft, there was reason to be highly optimistic.

After just eight starts in the big leagues, it's awfully impressive what Wood has been able to do.

In August, he's been Atlanta's best pitcher. Over the course of 30 innings (five starts), Wood went 2-0 with a minuscule 0.90 ERA. That 0.90 ERA trailed only Jose Fernandez of the Marlins, and it was better than the likes of Cy Young frontrunners Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. His FIP of 2.60 indicates he benefitted from some good fortune on the mound at times, but this is hardly a case of smoke and mirrors.

When a pitcher can consistently strike batters out (26 K%), give out few free passes (7.9 BB%) and keep the ball on the ground to avoid big innings (49.4 GB%, 4.3 HR/FB%), like Wood does, he's going to be successful. And assuming he can continue repeating his somewhat awkward pitching motion for the foreseeable future, there's no reason to think he can't be the Braves' best starter the next couple seasons.

At this point, it's just about assured Wood makes at least one start in the postseason. A case for him starting Game 1 of the series could even be made, depending on the matchup.

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