Eight years ago, Brandon Wood was a first-round pick (23rd overall) by the Angels. Five years ago, Baseball America dubbed him the third-best prospect in the game. He ranked 8th and 16th on that same list the following two seasons. Now, the 26-year-old Wood may be an organizational afterthought. According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, Wood's chances of making the Angels' roster are dim, barring a trade or release of fellow infielder Alberto Callaspo.
Wood hit just .146/.174/.208 last season through 243 plate appearances. He managed just six walks while striking out 71 times -- more than 29% of his plate appearances.
Wood is now out of options, meaning he'd have to pass through waivers unclaimed for the Angels to re-assign him to the minor leagues. Despite his struggles, it's unlikely this would happen, as a rebuilding team (DiGiovanna speculates on Toronto, specifically) would give him a chance based on his track record as an elite prospect.
Despite a strong push over the past week in Spring Training (7-19 with 2 HR, a double, and a triple), Wood remains buried on the team's depth chart. Maicer Izturis and Callaspo are ahead of him at third base, Erick Aybar and Izturis are ahead at short, while the combination Kendrys Morales (who will open the year on the DL), Mark Trumbo, and Howie Kendrick are in front of him on the first base depth chart.
DiGiovanna speculates that a trade of Callaspo to a team in need of infield help, such as the Phillies, would create room for Wood to make the club. We heard last week though that the Phillies payroll is tapped out, and Callaspo is set to earn $2MM this season. A release of Callaspo's non-guaranteed contract would also create room. The Angels, however, would still be responsible for part of his salary and would be risking a somewhat known commodity for Wood's upside, which may never surface.
It seems likely that Wood's time as an Angel may be coming to a close, with either a trade or DFA coming in the near future, giving him a chance at a fresh start in a new organization.