Alex Wood – Start or Bullpen?

Alex Wood Braves Start

Alex Wood

Atlanta Braves lefty Alex Wood could be a key this season as either a starter or reliever or both.  The pitcher with the funky delivery proved effective in both roles last season.

The Braves don’t have many questions this spring, but one they do have is whether  Wood should start all season, relieve all season, or relieve first then start.  I’m learning towards Wood starting the season in the bullpen and if Beachy and either Freddy Garcia or Gavin Floyd are effective in the fourth and fifth starter roles, keep Wood there all season.

Braves GM Frank Wren said last week that Wood is being prepared as a starter this season and they consider him a starter long-term.

Wood has earned the opportunity to start all season, but does that make the most sense for the Braves?  Not only is Wood an excellent lefty option out of the bullpen, the Braves will have more starter depth if they begin the season with Freddy Garcia in the number five starter slot and when Gavin Floyd returns, trade or release Garcia.

The concern is with Beachy and Floyd still question marks, what happens if you cast aside Garcia now so Wood can start?  You could come up short in the starting rotation in the worst case scenario.  I really don’t like Garcia in the bullpen, he would be taking a spot instead of someone who is a bullpen specialist.  Garcia has stated he won’t go to the minors if he doesn’t make the big club.

How do you think the Braves should use Wood this season?

  • NorthAlabamaGM

    To be honest, has Garcia even allowed a run in his last 14 innings: for the Braves:) It is too much to ask for Garcia him to be effective for a whole season, Floyd either, but if they can hold down #5 for even part of the season, put Wood in the bullpen until Venters and Beachy prove healthy. He is probabaly going to be limited in innings anyway this year so put him in the pen early instead of shutting him down late.

    • Does keeping Wood in the bullpen all season retard his growth as a potential starter? Could he potentially be a 12-14 game winner as the number 5 starter? Garcia has been good although you wonder how he will be after the NL sees him a couple times. Yeah, I think it probably is too much to ask. :)

      • NorthAlabamaGM

        All we would need is Garcia until Floyd, and Floyd until Venters, and then Wood to take over.

        • That’s true if Beachy is healthy and effective and no one else goes on the DL. There’s several arm injuries we are counting on being healthy. Will they be?

          • NorthAlabamaGM

            Looks like we need to worry about Medlen not Beachy

          • Sounds like we need to worry about Beachy, too. Unfortunately.

  • Mike Crowe

    Put Wood out there and let him pitch for crying out loud. They said he’s a starter didn’t they? If a 22 year old kid can’t start 30 games in the ML then send him down to American Legion. If Garcia says he won’t go to the minors then I would make his dicision for him, “Good-bye, have a good life.” Perhaps if baseball went back to the four man rotation (some teams used a three man) then perhaps we would have men pitching again and stronger arms. We’ve seen what pitch count does in the minors. I don’t get it.

    • Mike, platooning and 6-inning starters. Must drive you crazy. :) I just thinking that there isn’t a lot of depth in the Braves rotation at the moment and there is injury question marks. So hold the kid back and let the depth play out. He will get his chance this season. If he is a good starter he will start and pitch hundreds and hundreds of innings in his career. If not, it won’t matter.

      • Mike Crowe

        Okay, I’m old school I admit, and you know way more about today’s game than me, but I would simply go with my five best starters, that’s all I’m saying. Why complicate the game more than it is. Wood has proven himself to me at least, so why waste time with Garcia. And if you want to count pitches then perhaps go easy with Beachy. Like you I still feel a bit uneasy about him. Concerning Wood, “Hold the kid back and let the depth play out,” doesn’t make any sense to me. You can loose a pennant in April. Garcia playing the “I won’t go to the minors” in order to get his chance early is just him playing the Braves organization. I would hand him his pink slip right there. Platooning doesn’t drive me crazy if you’re short on talent and you have two low/mid level players to hold the fort until a starter comes along. Then there was the case back in 91/92 where you had Belliard and Blouser and Lemke and Treadway. Lemke and Blouser won out and the platooning of those positions didn’t drag on and on. But when it comes to BJ or Schafer I’m starting the year with Schafer and letting him fail through May, as long as he hits righties. As to the six inning starters, that’s fine for the first four starts. After that, yeah, I”m crazy – LOL. Fredi tried that in 2012 and the bullpen went toes up in September.

        • I don’t think I know way more than you, Mike. It is a simple game and anyone who watches a few games a week has as valid an opinion as anyone, imo. Looks like you may have your wish on Wood.

      • Wayne Canon

        Who came up with a ‘quality start’ being ‘at least 6 innings and 3 runs scored”? That’s a 4.10 ERA. Now that isn’t a terrible ERA, but it is a loose standard for a quality start.
        It is a headline event when a pitcher pitches 200 innings….
        “Back in the Day” that wouldn’t even be a footnote.
        Gone are the days when pitchers would go out on the town and toss back more than a few…and pitch a complete game the next day. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

        • Pitchers nowadays probably burn out their elbows and arms playing video games. I can’t figure out either why pitchers are like China dolls.

    • Wayne Canon

      What drives me up the wall is when they send a pitcher who is doing pretty good down to the minors to “build up his endurance”.
      uhhh…..couldn’t they keep him in the bigs, let him start the game on an increasing pitch count. Have him start and have a 30-35 pitch limit and increase it next time.

  • Robert Joseph Cerasuolo

    Here’s who’s left when it comes to starting pitching Odrisamer Despaigne (27)
    Jon Garland (34)
    Jair Jurrjens (28)
    Jeff Karstens (31)
    Jason Marquis (35)
    Jeff Niemann (31)
    Clayton Richard (30)
    Ervin Santana (31)
    Barry Zito (36)

    I mean if it was up to me I would sign Santana Marquis and Jurrjens just to be on the safe side.

    • Keep this list Robert, just in case!!