Call-Up Time: Brett Wallace

With the Major League season at its halfway point, and the Jays quickly running away from the playoff hunt, it’s time to look at the top man in their minor league system and see if there’s room to work him into the everyday line-up in The Bigs. This would of course be Brett Wallace, acquired in the Roy Halladay trade this off-season in a three-way deal involving Philadelphia and Oakland. Brett started his pro career at third base, but was moved to first base to start the season in order to mitigate his defensive shortcomings. This also works out nicely for the Jays because the only one in Wallace’s way is the incumbent Lyle Overbay.

Overbay has been a Blue Jay since 2006, and hopefully Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos makes this year his last. Praised for his defensive abilities (all too often by the Jays’ commentators) he has actually been a below average defender so far this year with a UZR of -1.5, which doesn’t make him a laughing stock, but also doesn’t make up for his below-average .320 wOBA, or (almost exactly average) .334 park-adjusted wOBA. But when you consider that he’s playing the most “hitter-friendly” position, average just doesn’t cut it. So if Overbay is an average to below-average player, is Wallace an upgrade?

Brett Wallace has produced a solid .300/.362/.503 triple-slash in AAA Las Vegas, but with the Pacific Coast League being hitter-friendly we need to take these stats with a grain of salt. Thanks to StatCorner, though, we have a park-adjusted wOBA for Wallace, and it is an above-average .361 wOBA. Expecting it to drop when he goes to the majors, Wallace still projects to be an average hitter and at least as good a hitter as Overbay has been so far this year. Throw in the hitter — and especially HR — friendly nature of the Rogers Center, and Wallace could be a fairly productive player in the Jays’ power-hitting line-up. While it will be hard for Wallace to keep his batting average at the .300 mark, having a 23.2% line-drive rate in the minors just reeks of above-average BABIP (if he keeps it up) which should help him to a sustainable .270-280 avg at the Major League level.

The only problem now is getting rid of Lyle Overbay. The Jays are looking to be big sellers at the deadline, with John Buck, Alex Gonzalez and Lyle Overbay himself being UFAs. All three of these guys should be moveable to teams with a weakness at thin positions (Catcher and Shortstop). Overbay has also been hitting better as the season progresses and could look like an attractive and cheap option for a team like Tampa Bay who is lacking at the DH spot, or a NL contender such as the Reds (as a world series DH) or the Giants. He could conceivably bring in a B- or C+ prospect, depending on how much of his salary the Jays are willing to pick up. With the Giants also lacking at shortstop, the Jays could package the two together and try to pry away a high-level prospect from them, although a Bumgarner is probably out of the question.

All in all, the Jays should actively be looking to shop Overbay ASAP and give Wallace a good long look this season to see if he can cut it at the major league level, and thus get a better idea of where the organization is at moving forward




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eblynch
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eblynch

If Overbay is involved in any trade rumors he needs to play as often as possible, and that leaves Wallace without a position with Lind at DH. Keeping him in triple A serves two purposes at this point then–showcase Overbay, and give Wallace everyday at-bats. I wouldn’t be too worried about Overbay’s UZR this season his track record has been decent. He’s definitely replaceable and probably won’t be with this team next year as a GM its tough to make a strong case for a guy being a trade chip if he’s the bench of a team out of the hunt.

jmeloche
Member
jmeloche

Considering Lyle has to field endless blunders from Edwin Encarnacion I have to give him some props for his defense. I watch most games and I agree the commentators give Lyle a little extra credit for his glove but it generally has to do with the awful throws he is receiving…

gehmane12
Member
Member
gehmane12

Never count out Brian Sabean’s incompetence. He traded Tim Alderson for Freddy Sanchez, after all.

Brian S
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Brian S

Why on earth would the Reds want Lyle Overbay. Let alone the fact that there are a lot greater holes on the team than a backup 1B, even the DH-for-W.S. argument is crap. With all the depth in OF and flexibility at the IF corners (thanks to Miguel Cairo, and Ramon Hernandez in a pinch), the Reds have finally assembled an interleague-friendly team this year. Hell, if they wanted a middle-average, low-power slow 1B, they’d just bring Sean Casey out of retirement. No possible way they’d waste a prospect on Overbay.

Baron Samedi
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Baron Samedi

AA has stated Wallace will play in triple-A all year.

slackerjack
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slackerjack

Since the start of June, Arencibia has 17 HR with a 1300 OPS. If anyone is deserving of a callup it’s him. With all the teams around the AL who are desperate for catching, I’m surprised that Buck has not already been traded.

Wallace has hardly been dominating in AAA. Why rush him? Let him finish out the season strong at AAA and compete for a job out of spring training.

Overbay does not make crazy amounts of money — I don’t think the Jays that are desperate to get out of the remaining 3.5 MM on his contract. And what can they really expect to get for trading him. Maybe a B-level prospect? Pass.

cpebbles
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cpebbles

Tim Alderson, the guy who can’t dent paper with his fastball and just got returned to A ball? Sabean’s made some awful moves, but that is looking less and less like one.

Mike Green
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Mike Green

There is something wrong with the park/league adjustments. Wallace is hitting .296/.359/.497 for a triple A club that is hitting .301/.357/.492. It is a sure thing that this should translate to a below major league average wOBA.

Joeiq
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Joeiq

Rogers center is refered to as a pitchers park and later as a hitters park?

brentinKorea
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brentinKorea

Rogers Center is RH homer friendly while suppressing singles. Therefore, the park is homer friendly, but pitcher friendly by suppressing singles and in turn runs.

opisgod
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opisgod

Above post; why park factors are useless in my eyes. The Jays are nothing but right handers doing their best Carlos Pena impersonation, and their 2 lefties with power don’t hit many of them or pull often. Of course there is going to be a park factor for Rh home runs, even though it’s a domed stadium with a symmetrical outfield…

jaysfirst
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jaysfirst

they may need to trade or drop EE for wallace to get full playing time. When snider comes back they may put bautista in the infield and they may play him at first to give wallace more time to learn the position. The other option is sitting lewis, but with the new 1,2 of lewis,escobar I can’t see gaston sitting lewis often.

Jim Maron
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Jim Maron

Has anyone ever read about minor league equivalency? Wallace projects as a .230-250 hitter in the majors with a .300 ob and 400 or so slugging. His performance this year in Las Vegas is horrendous for a first baseman. It’s not like he did anything the year before to justify a shot at the major league level.

Even if you don’t believe in minor league equivalency numbers, how about the fact that he ranks 29th in the PCL in ops.

I simply do not understand how anyone could think this guy could hit in the majors.

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