Robert Alexander Wood
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 4", Weight 215 lb.
- School University of Georgia
- High School Ardrey Kell High School
- Debut May 30, 2013
Alex Wood made it to the majors less than a year after being drafted.
Wood was 7-1 with a 1.80 ERA as a high school junior and was All-State as a senior after going 10-2 with 3 saves, a 0.87 ERA, 117 strikeouts and a .410 average. He only pitched 2/3 of an inning as a college freshman, undergoing Tommy John surgery and being granted a medical redshirt. He had a 6-7, 4.41 record in 2011. He improved to 7-3, 2.73 as a sophomore and made second-team All-Southeastern Conference. His ERA was the best by a Georgia Bulldog hurler since Dave Fleming in 1989. The Atlanta Braves, behind scout Brian Bridges, took him in the second round of the 2012 amateur draft. The 85th overall pick, he was Atlanta's second, following Lucas Sims. He signed for a $700,000 bonus.
Wood had a strong pro debut with the Rome Braves, going 4-3 with a 2.22 ERA and 1.01 WHIP, striking out 52 in 52 2/3 IP. Baseball America rated him as Atlanta's 7th-best prospect and as the one closest to the majors. Alex began 2013 with the Mississippi Braves and was superb after 10 starts (4-2, 1.26, 57 K in 57 IP, .98 WHIP), leading the Southern League in ERA at that point. He then got the call to the majors.
In his MLB debut, Wood entered in a double switch in the 9th with a 11-3 lead against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 30th. He got Mark DeRosa on a grounder. Colby Rasmus singled but Maicer Izturis hit into an inning-ending double play. Wood's first career start against the New York Mets, in a June 18th doubleheader, resulted in his first decision, a 4-3 loss, and he returned to the bullpen after that. He was inserted in the starting rotation for good after the All-Star break, though, and began to pitch very well. He defeated the Colorado Rockies 11-3, on July 30th for his first win, and followed up with a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies in a nationally televised Sunday night game on August 4th. That game extended the Braves' winning streak to 10 games, and the streak had reached 14 wins when he made his next start facing the Miami Marlins on August 10th. He did his part, throwing six scoreless innings, but was matched by the Marlins' Nate Eovaldi, who threw seven, and the Braves eventually lost the game, 1-0, in the 9th. Still, the string of good performances had lowered his ERA to 2.78. His record was only 3-3 on the year, but his ERA of 3.13 in 77 2/3 innings was good for an ERA+ of 125; 9 of his 31 appearances were as a starter. However, he was used as a reliever in the postseason, making 2 appearances against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. He gave up 4 runs in 3 1/3 innings, but none of them were earned.
Alex made the Braves' starting rotation coming out of spring training in 2014¸and pitched very well, even though wins were still hard to come by. He recorded his first career complete game on April 17th, but lost, 1-0, to the Philadelphia Phillies. In his next start, he again gave up only one run over 8 innings, while striking out 11 and walking none, but it was the Miami Marlins' Jose Fernandez who came out on top as he suffered another 1-0 loss. He was matched again with Fernandez on April 29th, and the Marlins' young ace was again impeccable, but Wood was hit hard, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits in 5 innings to suffer a 9-0 loss. He made 24 starts in 35 appearances for the Braves that season, logging 171 2/3 innings and ending up with a record of 11-11 but a very solid 2.78 ERA. He also struck out 170 batters, against 45 walks. Even though his ERA went up, he continued to pitch well in 2015 and after 20 starts for the Braves, he had a record of 7-6, 3.54. On July 30th, he was the key man in seven-player trade that sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers, who were desperately looking for dependable starting pitchers behind their exceptional one-two punch of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. Joining him in the deal were three other pitchers, Bronson Arroyo, Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson, and IF Jose Peraza while the Braves acquired Cuban infielder Hector Olivera, reliever Paco Rodriguez, prospect Zachary Bird and a competitive balance pick in the 2016 amateur draft that had been acquired from the Marlins in an earlier deal. He had a great game on September 16th when he held the Colorado Rockies to one hit over 8 innings in beating them, 2-0. He went 5-6, 4.35 in 12 starts for L.A., giving him a combined record of 12-12, 3.84 in 32 starts, pitching a total of 189 2/3 innings. He had been acquired to be the Dodgers' third starter in anticipation of the postseason, but when the Division Series rolled around, he was left out of the starting rotation, only pitching a couple of ineffective inninjgs in relief in the team's loss to the New York Mets.
In 2016, he was one of a number of Dodgers' starters to miss time because of injuries, while the team won its third straight division title in spite of its patched-together starting staff. He made a total of 14 appearances, including 10 starts, with a record of 1-4, 3.73 Once again, he was left out of the starting rotation in the postseason and made only one appearance, which came in relief in Game 4 of the NLCS against the Chicago Cubs when he pitched the last couple of innings of a 10-2 loss.
He thus seemed to have become little more than an afterthought when 2017 rolled around, but the Dodgers were still facing health issues with a number of their starters, which opened the door for him to get another opportunity to start. He took that opportunity and ran with it as he went 5-0, 1.88 in his first 9 games, which included 7 starts. From May 8-19, he made three consecutive scoreless starts, winning all three, pitching a total of 18 1/3 innings. He also put up a K/W ratio of 25/4 during that stretch. He wasn't done, however, as in his next start, on May 26th against the Chicago Cubs, he pitched another five scoreless innings in a 5-0 win to extend his streak of innings without a run to 25 1/3. He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for May as a result of that string of strong performances. On July 5th, he improved to 10-0 with a 1-0 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks, allowing only 3 hits over 7 innings. He was the first Dodgers starter to put up such a mark since Don Newcombe in 1955, but surprisingly he was not among the initial selections for the 2017 All-Star Game. However, he was selected to replace teammate Clayton Kershaw, who was unavailable to pitch under the Sunday Starter Rule. He pitched one inning in the game, giving up a run, then on July 15th improved to 11-0 with a 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins. He struck out 10 in 6 innings without giving up a run to lower his ERA to 1.56. His winning streak ended on July 21st, when he gave up 9 runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 12-3 loss to his former team, the Braves. He finished the year at 16-3, 2.72, leading the NL in winning percentage. His postseason was a disappointment, though, as after not pitching in the NLDS, he lost his only start against the Chicago Cubs in the 2017 ALCS and in the World Series, had a no-decision in his start in Game 4 against the Houston Astros when he gave up just one hit in 5 2/3 innings, but it was a homer by George Springer that broke a scoreless tie in the 6th. The Dodgers won that game, 6-2. His other outing was a two-inning hitless relief stint in Game 7, when the game was in effect already lost.
In 2018, he was not as good, going 9-7, 3.68 in 33 games, including 27 starts. His 151 2/3 innings pitched were almost identical to the previous season, but he gave up more hits and walks, and struck out fewer batters. In the postseason, he was used exclusively in relief, and not necessarily in situations that took best advantage of his strengths. He made 9 appearances in all, logging 6 2/3 innings, and the highlight for him was getting credit for the win in Game 3 of the World Series, a game which went 18 innings. He pitched the final inning before Max Muncy ended the marathon with a lead-off walk-off homer in the bottom of the 18th. On December 21st, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds along with OFs Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp and C Kyle Farmer in return for P Homer Bailey - who was immediately released - and two prospects in a deal designed to clear salary and roster space for the Dodgers. He had a very abbreviated season for the Reds in 2019, making just 7 starts and going 1-3, 5.80. He had begin the season on the injured list with a back issue and only made his first appearance in July; he was then shut down for good in September. He became a free agent after the season and on January 12, 2020, reached a one-year deal to return to the Dodgers, for a salary of $4 million.
- NL All-Star (2017)
- NL Winning Percentage Leader (2017)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2017)
- Won one World Series with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2020