2017 Dodgers In Review: LHP Alex Wood

Photo: Stacie Wheeler
IP K% BB% HR/9 ERA FIP xFIP WAR
MLB 152.1 24.6 6.2 0.89 2.72 3.32 3.34 3.4

What Happened In 2017: Had a career year, in spite of a pair of DL stints.

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Alex Wood‘s role heading into the 2017 wasn’t entirely clear. Would he be a starter, or would he pitch out of the bullpen? After a couple of early season relief appearances, Wood made the switch to the rotation for the rest of the year. And for quite some time, Wood was nothing short of excellent.

In Wood’s first May start, he allowed five runs (four earned) to the Giants. After that, he didn’t allow any runs for the remainder of the month. Wood ended up with 41 strikeouts versus 7 walks in 28 1/3 May innings, and was recognized as the National League Pitcher Of The Month. Less fortunately for Wood, May also ended with a trip to the disabled list for left SC joint inflammation. After nearly two weeks missed, Wood returned and continued to dominate. In six starts from June 10 to July 15, Wood allowed just six earned runs in 38 2/3 IP, striking out 41 versus eight walks.

Although he didn’t have enough innings to qualify for the leaderboard, Wood had a 1.67 ERA at the All-Star break, easily the best in baseball among starters with a minimum of 80 IP. Unsurprisingly, he was named to the NL All-Star roster. Wood pitched the fifth inning of the game, and allowed a run on a pair of hits.

It was late July when Wood began struggling. In his final two starts of that month, Wood allowed 13 runs (11 earned) in 11 2/3 IP. Most concerningly, there was a notable downturn in Wood’s fastball velocity. Although Wood got better results in August, he hit the DL again towards the end of the month with the same SC joint issue. He once again missed nearly two weeks, and struggled in his first couple of starts back. Wood managed to finish the season strong, though, with just a combined four runs allowed in his final three starts, and each start lasting six innings.

When the time came for the postseason, Wood slotted in as the Dodgers’ No. 4 starter, so he was not needed in the Division Series at all. His Game 4 start in the Championship Series was the first postseason start of his career; he allowed three runs in 4 2/3 IP, as the Dodgers went on to lose 3-2.

Wood made two appearances in the World Series, including the Game 4 start. Wood provided some drama by taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning; ultimately, he allowed just one run in 5 2/3 IP on the way to a 6-2 Dodger victory.

Wood also pitched the final two innings of Game 7. He retired all six batters he faced.

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2018 Status: Making $6 million and serving as the Dodgers’ No. 3 starter. Will be arbitration eligible for the final time at the end of the season.

About Sarah Wexler

Sarah Wexler
Sarah Wexler is a native Angeleno and longtime Dodger fan. She began blogging about baseball in 2012 on her Tumblr, New Grass On The Field, where she covered an array of topics but especially enjoyed exploring baseball history. She is now an editorial producer for MLB.com, and co-hosts a podcast, The Hardball Times Audio. She earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. She's an avid Springsteen fan, which is a big boost to her baseball writer cred.