The path to professional baseball has been far from linear for left hander Jordan Woods.
Before the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft, the young hurler got the news that no pitcher wants, but is not uncommon. He needed Tommy John surgery to repair a damaged ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.
“When I got hurt, tearing my UCL, almost all the teams backed out except for Kansas City,” Woods said. “They ended up flying me down to Arizona and giving me a tour of their facility and I was able to talk with some of the coaches and players currently there. I ended up having a good conversation with Lonnie Goldberg, the Royals Vice President of Player Personnel, and they ended up coming up to me after the draft and offering me a deal.”
And on Monday he signed that deal, officially making him a member of the Kansas City Royals organization.
Making a decision of that magnitude, one that alters his future in such a significant way, doesn’t come easily. Woods was committed to East Tennessee State University and was looking forward to his time in Johnson City, Tennessee. Oddly enough, it was the injury that played a role in helping make the final decision.
“There was a lot that went into my decision to go the minor league route instead of college,” he said. “I'd say the main factor was my injury. Having the resources that the Kansas City Royals have and their experience with Tommy John definitely swayed me.”
Heading into Day 3 of the draft, Woods thought there might be a chance for him to hear his name called in the later rounds. Then he received a call from Goldberg saying they would be in touch when the draft was over. Once that happened and the offer was made, Woods talked it over with family and friends and ultimately decided it was the best opportunity.
Woods points to his time with Baseball Canada’s Junior National Team as having a huge influence on his career. The program allowed him to see what being a professional baseball player was like.
Terriers 18U manager Dean Dicenzo is proud of the adversity Woods has overcome and thinks his future is bright.
“He’s been one of our programs top arms for a few years now,” Dicenzo said. “Needing Tommy John surgery is certainly disappointing, but I have no doubt he’ll be able to come back stronger from it. The Royals got themselves a pitcher with a lot of upside.”
Woods says the Royals will be getting a hard worker that can mix his pitches for strikes and commands the zone.
With his contract signed, Woods will now have his surgery in the coming weeks and head to Arizona for rehab under the guidance of the Royals staff.
“My immediate goal right now is to get healthy again and get back to 100%,” he said. “Tommy John can be a hard road but I’m ready and prepared for the challenges that come with it. My long term goal is to make it to the major leagues. It has always been my dream to play in MLB ever since I was a child.”