Wood has a big arm and a big-school track record. Drafted by the Astros in the 36th round in 2008 out of high school, he began his college career at Florida State, making five starts as a freshman in 2009 and walking 25 in 23 innings. He transferred to St. Petersburg JC, where he also failed to stick in the rotation. However, he probably had the best arm in the junior-college ranks this season, and garnered first-three-rounds interest even after dropping back into a bullpen role. He wound up going 3-4, 4.81, and control was a problem for him all season as he walked 21 in 43 innings. Worse, he fell behind hitters too often and had to groove fastballs, leading him to get hit around more than he should. His only appearance in the Florida postseason junior-college tournament was a 13-pitch, four-out outing when the game was not in doubt. Wood's 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame and power arm are hard for scouts to walk away from. He lives in the 90-95 mph range as a starter, sitting at 93-94, and hit 96 in a relief stint in the state tournament. His slider also grades out as average at times, and he has flashed a changeup that is better than his breaking ball at times. His arm works well, so scouts believe his control should improve with maturity and professional instruction. His future role likely is as a reliever, though his durable body and three-pitch repertoire will give him a chance to start.
Austin Wood is a powerful right-handed pitcher from St. Petersburg Junior College in Florida. Wood originally attended Niceville High School in Niceville, Florida, a town in the Florida panhandle that is essentially surrounded by Eglin Air Force Base. He was high school teammates with left-hander Brett DeVall, who went in the supplemental first round of the 2008 draft, while Wood fell to the thirty-sixth round, when the Astros spent a late-round flier on him. He didn’t sign, and instead he took his game to Florida State, where he was expected to be a big producer for them. However, after a disappointing freshman year in which he battled severe control problems, he decided to transfer out to St. Petersburg, and despite big stuff, he failed to take much of a step forward this spring. He has the raw stuff of someone who could be a number three starter or power setup man, but control problems continue to plague him, and until those issues are resolved, his ceiling is limited. His arsenal starts with a plus fastball that sits 92-94, touching 97 during a few late-season relief appearances once he lost his starting rotation job. His raw arm strength and frame are the big positives in his scouting reports, though, as the rest of his arsenal is lacking. His slider is a potential solid-average pitch that he can’t command, and he adds in a potential above-average changeup, another pitch he can’t command. With such control problems, the best thing to do sometimes is to take the minor league ladder one step at a time, which is likely in his situation. He’s a probably third to fifth round pick, and though he can continue to play ball at Southern California, the likely departure of the coach there means he’s probably signable.
And there's your JC pitcher. Local guy from St. Petersburg JC.