There were some baseball “experts” that really thought the Atlanta Braves were messing up terribly when they sent Alex Wood down to AAA just under a month ago. However, when the news started to circulate, people realized that what the team was doing was exactly what needed to be done. Wood was going to stretch his arm out to hopefully re-join the starting rotation if the team decided to make a trade for a relief pitcher. The team didn’t need to make a trade, though, to get him back; an injury to Gavin Floyd made his return happen earlier than some thought.
Fast forward to his first start back against the Houston Astros. He was very economical, going seven full innings while only throwing 79 pitches. Doing that did two things for the Braves that they needed: 1. He pitched well late into a game to give the bullpen a break and 2. Gave the offense quick innings to get in and get back to the plate. What is more impressive is that with his efficient work, Wood only allowed three hits, staying out of the stretch for most of the game.
The starting rotation is where Wood belongs for the Braves. While in the bullpen, he was reliant on his fastball, losing control of his secondary pitches at times. Going back to AAA, he was not only able to stretch out his arm, but he was able to get a better grasp on those secondary pitches.
When he has all of his pitches going, Alex has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation pitcher on any team. For the Braves, what he can do can be significant. Even though the starting pitching has been good, he brings a dominant left-handed presence to the starting rotation that Mike Minor has yet to establish so far this season.