On Saturday the 2013 All Star rosters were announced and Travis Wood was the lone Cubs representative. The left handed starter has been one of the few bright spots of the year for the North Siders. His 5-6 record is deceiving, as we are all too familiar with the lack of run support and tough luck Wood has had to deal with. The lefty also boasts a 2.69 ERA and leads all of baseball with 16 quality starts, including a stretch of nine straight QS to begin the season. To further dispel the misguided over importance of a pitcher’s win loss record, Wood also features an opponent’s batting average of .192 and an impressive .979 WHIP. These impressive stats also do not reflect Wood’s ability to be a two way pitcher this year, having provided more than his share of highlights with the bat as well. The lefty has a pair of homers and seven RBI to his name while sporting a .258 average.
The poor play by the Cubs as a team does not provide much leverage for more than one Cub to make the NL All Star team, but none of the position players have made much of a case individually either. With MLB requiring that every team in baseball be represented with at least one player, Wood’s only real competition was the recently traded Scott Feldman, who was having a turnaround season of his own. Make no mistake about it, though. Wood is far from just a sympathy pick to have the Cubs represented in New York for the mid season classic. His numbers highlighted earlier certainly show that he just as deserving as any of the other pitchers he will team up with.
Wood is the first Cubs pitcher to receive invite honors since Ted Lilly in 2009. It is also his first trip to the All Star game in his short three plus year career. The addition of a cutter, an increase in confidence, and the work with pitching coach Chris Bosio seems to have sparked Wood into reaching the potential the Reds saw in him when he was selected in the second round of the 2005 draft. Theo Epstien and Company certainly hope that they have cashed in on the return for Sean Marhsall, with Wood in position to be a key piece of the starting rotation for a “Cubs Way” yearly contender in the near future.