And Matt Brazis was not the only one who has put in excellent work in a tough environment.
Grady Wood, like Brazis, was picked in the 2012 draft (10th round out of Western Oregon). Unlike Brazis, he didn’t arrive with a flurry of strikeouts, but he put up very nice all-around numbers at Everett and Clinton, and ended up with Brazis in High Desert at the end of 2013.
While Brazis managed to avoid the usual gopheritis in the desert wind, Wood didn’t. He gave up three homers in his 14 home games, and ended with a 7.54 home ERA. It wasn’t quite as bad as all that (.343 BABIP; 5.27 FIP), but he struggled with both walks and extra-base hits.
Could he figure it out when he was re-assigned to the Mavericks for 2014? Yes.
Wood has saved his spot on the pecking order with a brilliant 2014. He’s figured out how to survive, giving up only six doubles and two homers in home games for a .240/.305/.344 slash-line-against at home. [Compare to Dominic Leone’s tour of duty there: .241/.280/.368.]
And he’s been even better on the road, yielding only one homer and racking up a sterling 12.5 K/9 in away parks. His road FIP is 1.97 [Leone’s was 2.01.]
Wood doesn’t have Leone’s pure stuff, but he’s got a funky sidearm approach — not whippy, but sort of flingy — and it’s given RH hitters fits so far (11.2 K/9 vs. RH hitters this year).
And we’ve found that the guys who can make it work in the desert have a pretty good shot.