Browning and Wood: Striking similarities
BY KEVIN KELLY | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
DAYTON - Tom Browning struck out more batters in 1986 than any other Red on the pitching staff that season.
It stands as the last time a left-handed pitcher drafted and developed by the Reds led the team in that category.
Travis Wood is a ways from pitching in the major leagues, but 16 games into his pro career, the Reds' second-round draft pick last year already has posted some impressive strikeout totals.
Entering Thursday, the Single-A Dayton pitcher was tied for the Midwest League lead with 15 strikeouts in 82/3 innings. In 571/3 innings overall in the minors, Wood is 3-0 with a 1.57 ERA and has struck out 82 batters while walking only 22.
"You never can expect strikeouts," said Wood, a 19-year-old from Alexander, Ark. "You just expect to have a good game and do your best."
In his second start this season, against Lansing on Tuesday at Fifth Third Field in Dayton, Wood allowed four doubles over five scoreless innings in a 2-1 win.
His struck out 10 and walked one.
"I was impressed with the way he pitched inside," Dayton manager Billy Gardner said afterward. "He went inside for effect, which helped his changeup. His changeup had real good deception, and it makes his fastball better."
Baseball America rated Wood as the third-best prospect in the Reds' farm system after a solid debut in rookie ball last season.
In 14 appearances with the Gulf Coast League Reds and Billings Mustangs, Wood went 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and 67 strikeouts to just 20 walks in 482/3 innings.
Opponents batted .166 against him.
"Last year definitely gave me the confidence to know what I can do and what my limits are," Wood said. "I know I can compete out there."
Wood throws a two-seam and four-seam fastball that tops out in the low 90s. He also throws a changeup and a curveball.
"The curveball is the pitch that has needed the most work from high school to last year," Wood said. "I need to keep working on all my pitches but emphasizing the curveball."