After another excellent start last night and 7 starts in a row where he has went 6 innings twice and 6.2 or more 5 times, it's proof positive he is in a groove.
In those 7 starts his #'s are:
3-2 record / ERA of 1.89 / 47.2 innings / 31 hits / 10 BB's / 47 K's and a WHIP of 0.860...
In his last 41 starts spanning all last season and this one since developing a cutter and taking a couple MPH of his fastball his #'s are...
17-11 record / ERA of 2.34 / 257.2 innings / 199 hits / 75 BB's / 223 K's and a WHIP of 1.06. He has only given up 15 HR's in those same innings even though he is 1 to 1 on FO vs GO. Meaning they aren't getting good wood on the ball even when they do make contact. Keep in mind all these numbers are on a poor infield in Carolina and a poor defensive team in Louisville behind him this season.
In his last 41 starts he has given up 80 runs. Not earned runs. All runs. 80. That's less than 2 per start. He has only given up 67 earned runs in that same time frame. He is giving his team an average of 6.1 innings per start even on a limited pitch count, even with poor defenses running his pitch count up.
If his last name was Chapman these numbers would make him a Top 2 or 3 pitching prospect in all of Baseball and have RZer's in a Fevered Foaming Fury.
That's the rub. That's what I don't get. It's not like Wood hasn't paid his dues. He has pitched at every level in the Reds system from the GCL to AAA. He has had success at every level he has pitched at. Every one. The highest ERA he has posted before getting promoted at any level was 3.66 that was his first full season in the minors and probably battled arm fatigue late in the year. The next highest was 2.70 and the next was 1.82 and the next was 1.21 and the next was 0.75. Dominate. Dominate. Dominate.
He has pedigree. He was a 2nd round draft choice. 2 rounds ahead of Sam LeCure and one behind Bruce. 2nd round draft choices are supposed to be in the majors in 5 years. He is in year 6. He is 23. He has built up his arm strength. He is ready.
He was the last cut in spring training and was thiiiiiis close to making the ODR as the 5th starter. He is a change of pace guy. No he isn't a BIG arm like Cueto, Bailey, Volquez or Chapman. Neither is Leake. Half the board has an unhealthy crush on him though. Wood does have his supporters on here, I am aware of that. He has more than his fair share of ho hummers who think he is all smoke and mirrors. His numbers show, he is a pitcher. A real legitimate pitcher. He could have mentally imploded after his horrible run in AA in 2008. He instead developed a new pitch, change his throwing motion, rehabbed his arm harder and trusted his stuff.
I am not sold on the idea of using him as trade bait. Not to say I wouldn't. But he is a Tom Browning, he is a David Wells type, he could be a Cliff Lee. He has succeeded and excelled at every level. What's to say he wouldn't be a 10 year answer in the rotation here?
It's a nice problem to have I'll admit. The trades the Reds make in the next 6 weeks could go along way towards the continued push towards competitiveness year in and year out vs mortgaging the future for one winning season.
Keep in mind if the Reds do trade for Lee and keep Harang in the deal, the Reds will have 3 starting pitchers who could be FA at seasons end. You demote Bailey to the bullpen which screws with his head, limits his innings, hurting the team next year and who knows if he will even be effective. Volquez will be limited on innings next year, Leake will be limited to around 200 ~ 210, Chapman to around 150 to 180.
So now you've got 4 pitchers on limited innings going into next year.
Volquez ~ 170ish
Cueto ~ 220 (if he becomes more pitch efficient)
Leake ~ 200
Chapman ~ 150 - 180
Bailey ~ 170 to 180 (if you stick him in the Bullpen)
That rotation will eat a bullpen alive without mercy.
So what do you do? Pick up Harang's option? Not likely. Arroyo has a declining K rate and an increasing BB rate. He is trending in a bad bad direction and eventually he will implode... Probably sooner than later. In this scenario your going to need Wood who'll be available for up to 220 innings. There is no one else short of a 27 year old Matt Maloney in the system who can do that next year.
I say stay the course with what you have and continue to build from within... Or make a trade with Bailey (not Cueto) who I think both are going to figure it out eventually for Haren or another top pitcher with PRODUCTIVE years left on his contract...
Leake and Volquez (alternate starts)
for the remainder of the season. Let what may happen, happen.
Next year go into it with
Traded starter ~ (no limit)
Volquez ~ 150/170
Cueto ~ 220
Leake ~ 200
Wood ~ 210
Let the rotation mature together and give Chapman an extra month of two in the Minors to make sure he is ready ready. Move Wood to the Pen and then at or near the Deadline move the traded for starter and his contract for needs replace Wood in the Rotation and your set with 5 perfectly slotted arms going into their primes for 2 or 3 years with affordable salaries.