College Baseball Daily continues our countdown to the start of the 2011 College Baseball season by checking in on the Top 100 Players in the country. We will be providing one player per day until we reach number 1.
We continue the countdown today at number 28 with USC junior RHP Austin Wood. The Niceville, Florida native attended Niceville High School where he had a standout career. As a junior in high school, he went 6-2 with a 1.35 ERA in 13 appearances (11 starts). He was named a third team All-American and first team All-Region from Rawlings. He also was named honorable mention All-State. He was drafted in the 2008 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros in 36th round but decided to head to Florida State to play under Mike Martin Sr.
Austin Wood struggled mightily in his freshman season in 2009 at Florida State as he did not record a decision in nine appearances (five starts) while accumulating an ERA of 6.25 in 22.2 innings. He did struggle with his control as he walked 25 batters while striking out 13 batters. After the season was over, Wood decided to transfer out of Florida State.
He ended up at St. Petersburg College where he went 3-4 with a 4.81 ERA in 43 innings. He control issues continued to plague him as he walked 21 batters. He only made a brief 13 pitch appearance in the Florida junior college postseason tournament in which the game was not in doubt. According to Baseball America, Wood had the best arm in the junior college ranks in 2010. Even with his control problems, the Tampa Bay Rays selected him in the fourth round (131st round).
Austin then headed down to the Cape Cod Baseball League to play with the Cotuit Kettleers. He had an outstanding summer going 3-0 in seven appearances (six starts) while accumulating an ERA of 0.74. His control issues continued to plague him as he walked 19 batters while striking out 25 in 36.1 innings of work. He was named to the Cape Cod All-Star Game where he started for the Western Division. He pitched one inning giving up two hits but did not give up any runs. He also pitched in the CCBL postseason with the Kettleers going 1-1 with a 1.35 ERA in 13.1 innings. He did strike out 14 batters while walking only three in the postseason. Baseball America rated him the sixth best prospect in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
The Rays made a late charge to sign Wood but could not come to terms with him. He will pitch the 2011 season at USC under first year head coach Frank Cruz.