Dodgers: Alex Wood Has Breakout Potential After Driveline Trip
The Dodgers have yet to officially announce their signing of left-hander Alex Wood, but all reports indicate that he has in fact agreed to a one-year deal with Los Angeles. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the contract terms are for $4 million and escalators that could turn it into $10 million for the former All-Star.
Alex Wood’s deal with the #Dodgers is for one year, $4M, with incentives that can push his total to $10M, source says. Physical is complete. Deal is done.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 13, 2020
This could turn out to be a huge signing for the Dodgers. Wood is on the upwards trend — his 2019 numbers negated — because of his recent work with Driveline Baseball.
Driveline Baseball is a major company that has gained prominence for its consistency in turning around the careers of many players, most notably a crop of pitchers headlined by Trevor Bauer. The company was founded by Kyle Boddy, who is now employed by the Cincinnati Reds. Driveline aims to re-design pitch characteristics while simultaneously increasing spin efficiency and velocity.
Alex Wood was always a pitcher who was at his best when his velocity registered 93 miles per hour and above. Anything below that produced fairly average results. If Wood could get to that mark consistently, the Dodgers could receive something of the ilk of his All-Star first half in 2017 over a full season. The likeliest outcome for the left-hander is returning as a number-three type of starting pitcher, but that holds value when the Dodgers already have the depth with Walker Buehler and Clayton Kershaw at the top.
The Dodgers’ hiring of Rob Hill from Driveline Baseball has also attracted Kenley Jansen, who has been working to re-design his cutter in recent weeks.
Here is a video of Hill’s work with Alex Wood:
Remote trainee, FA @Awood45 coming to the end of his on-ramp phase with his first 80+% intent day off the bump.
On ramp areas of focus:
-getting accustomed to weighted ball training and drills
-cleaning up arm path
Alex has absolutely crushed this on ramp. Dude is a warrior. pic.twitter.com/jM6XdOyXQU
— Rob Hill (@Berticushill) November 22, 2019
Because of Wood’s work with Hill, we can have fairly solid expectations for his future with the Dodgers. He was always a player who held good relationships with the clubhouse, most notably with third baseman Justin Turner.
While he will have a lot of competition for a starting rotation spot, he should be in the mix. If all else fails, he could prove to be a very valuable asset out of the bullpen due to his history there and the new three-batter minimum rule.
NEXT: A Glance at LA’s Upgraded Starting Pitching Depth