Why a prospect fails
Brandon Wood was a "sure thing" -- but is anything but today. How do prospects get derailed?
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.
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.
TOP MLB PROSPECTS 2011
ESPN.com's Keith Law tracks the game's best prospects throughout the 2011 major league season.
IN-SEASON UPDATES7/14: Prospect Rankings - Midseason update
7/11: Futures Game report | Part II
6/28: Futures Game 10 to watch
5/31: Law's Top 25 Update
5/3: Law's Top 10 update