Commentary

Why a prospect fails

Brandon Wood was a "sure thing" -- but is anything but today. How do prospects get derailed?

Originally Published: January 28, 2011
By Jason Churchill | ESPN Insider

Brandon Wood enters spring training next month with what is likely his final shot to prove to the Los Angeles Angels that he's worthy of a spot on the major league roster. The 25-year-old is out of options and could soon find himself looking for work elsewhere. Once considered among the top prospects in all of baseball, Wood now is at a crossroads. At the MLB winter meetings, even encouraging manager Mike Scioscia admitted the "expectations have changed" for Wood.

[+] EnlargeWood
Andrew Weber/US PresswireBrandon Wood keeps hoping it will click.

What led him to this point?

It's not much of a secret that the success rate of baseball prospects isn't high; hundreds of minor leaguers are annually shuffled out of the game as a new crop is brought in via the draft and international free agency. But that's just the way the game treats its applicants. Thousands try, most fail. What is a bit of an unknown is why certain talents -- the premium editions -- go from potential superstars to commodities generally referred to as 4-A players. That's because as much as people believe the draft is something of a crapshoot -- it really isn't. At least among the elite. A high percentage of the annual Top 100 prospects will be first-round picks. But some never make it.


For Jason's full take here, plus a list of current prospects with major red flags, you must be an Insider.