Dodgers: Taking a Closer Look at Alex Wood’s Dominance and ASG Snub

DENVER, CO - MAY 13: Starting pitcher Alex Wood
DENVER, CO - MAY 13: Starting pitcher Alex Wood /

As Alex Wood gets ready to go for his 10th win tonight as the Dodgers take on the Arizona Diamondbacks, I wanted to shed light on how bad of a snub he was not to be selected as an NL All-Star by the players and managers.

Alex Wood has finally put it all together and is having a breakout campaign to kick off his young career with the Dodgers. Heading into Wednesday’s game vs. the Diamondbacks, Wood is 9-0 with a 1.83 ERA and 0.91 WHIP and trying to become the first Dodger to start the season10-0 since Ed Roebuck did back in 1962.

To say Wood has been a pleasant surprise would be an understatement. Wood very well can be a National League Cy Young candidate and could perhaps be voted the Dodgers’ best pitcher of the first half. So why he was left off the NL All-Star roster blows my mind even more than Justin Turner being left off the roster.

Some may point to the fact that he’s only started 12 games and has pitched only 73 2/3 innings. But when you look at his WAR of 2.6, according to Baseball Reference, Wood ranks just outside the top 10 at number 11 out of all the starting pitchers in baseball. I understand there are a lot of talented pitchers in the NL, but the fact that Robbie Ray from the Diamondbacks was able to get the nod over him is outrageous.

Ray has an 8-4 record with a 3.06 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The numbers don’t lie; Wood is more deserving than Ray to have been voted into the All-Star game. But those numbers don’t tell all, so let’s dive into Wood’s advanced metrics.

Wood’s advanced metrics prove that he has been one of the most dominant pitchers not only in the NL but all of the MLB. He has a FIP of 2.12 which is incredible. FIP is an advanced metric that measures a pitcher’s run prevention ability independent of the defense behind him and predicts what his ERA should be. It is a useful statistic for predicting future success and whether a pitcher is getting lucky or not. A FIP of 3.20 is considered excellent, and he is a full run lower than that which shows that his dominance is for real and sustainable.

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Wood is averaging an average batted ball distance traveled of 180 feet. To show how dominant that is, Clayton Kershaw is averaging a batted ball distance traveled of just under 200 feet. This means that when hitters do hit the ball off Wood, which is very rare considering his .181 batting average allowed, the ball doesn’t travel very far.

His low batted ball distance is likely due to his high groundball rate and low fly ball rate. His groundball rate currently sits at 65% over the past 12 months, and his fly ball rate sits at 19%. Those numbers add up to Wood keeping hitters in the ballpark and limiting damage with runners in scoring position.

Another factor of Wood’s low batted ball distance is his low hard hit rate. In his last 12 months, Wood has a 23% hard hit rate and a very low 15.3% line drive rate.

To summarize what all these numbers mean, Alex Wood has been dominant. When you factor in his strikes thrown percentage (66%) you understand why he has an elite 10.8 K’s per 9 innings this season.

Wood has pitched well enough to be considered the Dodgers’ biggest surprise this season. I didn’t decide to write this article to rant on why he should be an All-Star, but rather show how dominant his advanced stats have been over the past 12 months.

I’m more than confident Wood will make the NL All-Star team come this weekend when replacements are announced for pitchers who won’t be able to participate in the game. With Kershaw expected to start the final game before the break making him ineligible to participate, so there’s already one pitching spot available.

Next: Trayce Thompson's Future in LA

I’m not really sure why Wood hasn’t received credit for his pitching this season, but for the time being it looks like the Dodgers have found a nice number two starter while Rich Hill fixes his mechanics.