Dodgers 2016 Player Review: Alex Wood
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Reading Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood’s timeline of injury updates was like taking a trip to Magic Mountain. Wood suffered a scare during Spring Training when he was scratched from a start due to dreaded forearm tightness.

While that’s often a precursor to Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers and Wood maintained the injury was minor. Sure enough, he returned five days later. Wood went on to make 10 consecutive starts in April and May — posting an 3.99 ERA with 62 strikeouts in 56.1 innings pitched.

However, Wood had a scheduled start in late May pushed back due to left triceps soreness. He took the mound later than initially expected, and landed on the 15-day disabled the following day with left posterior elbow soreness.

A subsequent MRI revealed a posterior impingement in his left elbow that required approximately four weeks of rest.

Wood was said to be recovering ahead of schedule by the middle of June, and was slated to begin a throwing program. By early July, the left-hander was projected for an August return.

That was no longer a possibility when the Dodgers announced on July 20 that Wood was set to undergo an arthroscopic debridement of his left elbow, sidelining him for eight weeks.

The 25-year-old was activated from the DL on Sept. 20, and turned in four scoreless innings over as many relief appearances to close out the regular season. He went 1-4 with a 3.99 ERA, 1.31 WHIP and 62 strikeouts in 56.1 innings over 10 starts.

While not chosen for the National League Division Series roster, Wood was selected to be a part of the NL Championship Series roster. He appeared in one game, throwing two scoreless innings during the Game 4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

2016 Highlight

Hard to decide between these two, and because they came against the same team, both are included.

On April 29, Wood threw seven innings of one-run ball against the San Diego Padres, striking out nine in the process. This tied for his longest appearance of the season.

Just under one month later, on May 21, Wood faced the Padres again — this time allowing two earned runs over six innings, while striking out a career-high 13 batters.

Unfortunately for Wood, both games ended in losses for the Dodgers.

2017 Outlook

Wood is under team control through the 2019 season, with 2017 being the first year of he’s eligible for salary arbitration. While health has always been the problem for Wood, given that he’s still only 25 years old, there’s no reason he can’t put together a few strong seasons for the team.

One thing that will be interesting to monitor is whether the Dodgers decide that Wood is best utilized in the bullpen — both to protect his arm from heavy usage, and as a left-handed option that can attack right- and left-handed hitters.

Either way, Wood figures to be a critical part of the Dodgers roster for multiple years ahead, whether out of the bullpen or as a member of the starting rotation.