Nothing we hadn't heard before. BP's Kevin Goldstein (who brings a scouting background to the stathead-heavy mix at BP) wrote today about prep pitchers:
I had a recent discussion with a scout in which he talked about looking at high school pitching in a slightly different way. He believes that the radar gun is still an essential tool in scouting prep arms, but because these players are so far away, he thinks others skills are just as essential. When evaluating high school arms, he wants to see:
* Plus velocity and some idea of how to control it. Too often scouts see a kid pumping mid-90s gas without worrying about the pitcher's ability to throw strikes. See Griffin, Colt.
* A plus second pitch. The biggest mistake here is assuming that a player can learn a curveball or slider or changeup. It's certainly possible, but entering the pro ranks without one puts a pitcher well behind the eight ball.
* Sound mechanics. Again, coaching can help clean up mechanics, but if a pitcher is overly violent in his delivery, significant changes in his mechanics could make the pitcher less effective overall, and take a long time to learn. The development staff at least needs a good foundation to begin with.
Then he profiled ten pitchers who fit the description, including Wood. By "little projection" I think he means what we see is what we'll get in terms of velocity, as opposed to a more classic pitcher's body who could add a few mph to the fastball with maturity, but I'm not sure.
Travis Wood, lhp, Reds
Drafted: 2005, second round
Velocity: Plus, especially for lefthander
Second Pitch: Plus-plus changeup
2005 Debut: 1.29 ERA in 49 innings with 67/20 K/BB ratio
The Good: As an Arkansas prep star Wood was seen by scouts primarily as a raw lefthander whose primary skill was the ability to throw hard, and even the Reds seem shocked at his initial success and polish. Wood began his career with 17.2 scoreless innings over six games, allowing seven hits and punching out 31. He showed little sign of slowing down when promoted to the Pioneer League, limiting opposing batters to a .174 average.
The Bad: While it is rare to find a teenager with an advanced changeup, Wood still needs a breaking ball, and he's yet to acquire a feel for the pitch. Short (6-foot) and slight of frame, he offers little projection.
The Immediate Future: Wood will pitch for Low Class A Dayton.