Promotion Watch: Brett Wallace

It’s not common to see a highly regarded prospect traded twice less than two years after being drafted, but that’s exactly what happened to now Blue Jays’ farmhand Brett Wallace. As you know, the Cardinals shipped him to Oakland in last year’s Matt Holliday deal, and they turned around and flipped him to Toronto in the third leg of the Roy Halladay trade this winter. Regardless of where he’s been playing, Wallace has done what he’s always done: flat out rake.

After hitting a combined .293/.367/.455 with 20 homers and 26 doubles across two levels and three teams last season, Wallace is mashing to the tune of .301/.363/.507 for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate this year. With 14 homers and 20 doubles, he’s not far off from last season’s totals in 261 fewer plate appearances. It’s worth noting that the Pacific Coast League is a hitter friendly environment in general, especially where Wallace is playing in Las Vegas. MinorLeagueSplits.com has his park adjusted triple-slash line at .288/.351/.484, still outstanding.

The bat has never been an issue with Wallace. Baseball America said he “has outstanding bat control and knows how to get in favorable counts where he can do the most damage, allowing him to project for 20 homers per year despite not having outstanding raw power” when they named him the game’s 27th best prospect before the season. The question has been about position ever since he played at Arizona State, though the move to Toronto has cleared that picture up. After years of trying to fake it at third, Wallace has played first base exclusively since the trade (save for the occasional DH assignment) and figures to do so in the long run.

The good news is that Wallace retains 3B eligibility in Yahoo! leagues, where he’s owned in just 1% of leagues. Obviously he hasn’t been called up yet, so anyone that does own him is likely in a deep keeper league looking towards the future. The Blue Jays are slowly fading out of contention in the ultra-competitive AL East, having gone 11-15 this month and 13-20 dating back to May 20th. Incumbent first baseman Lyle Overbay is having a simply dreadful year, checking in at -0.1 WAR through the team’s first 77 games. He’s scheduled to become a free agent after the season, so Toronto could simply cut bait and designate Overbay for assignment if they don’t get lucky and find a trade partner infatuated with name recognition. Point is, the first base job can open up for Wallace at any time, especially now that we’re past all the service time milestones and the team has basically acquired another year of cost control.

CHONE predicted a .252/.306/.401 batting line with 16 doubles and 23 homers in 489 at-bats for Wallace this year, but he’s obviously not going to meet that playing time projection. The triple-slash projection isn’t unreasonable for a rookie in a division packed to the gills with power pitching, but that doesn’t make Wallace any less of a fantasy option, especially with 3B eligibility. He’s a must have in a keeper league, and definitely has value for the rest of 2010 in any league assuming a late-July promotion (at the latest).




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Mike writes about the Yankees at River Ave. Blues and baseball in general at CBS Sports.

15 Responses to “Promotion Watch: Brett Wallace”

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  1. Phil says:

    Is a .288/.351/.484 adjusted AAA line really outstanding? Its not a bad line, but I think painting it as outstanding is a major stretch.

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  2. ddriver80 says:

    Wallace has been good this year, but the real promotion watch should be on Arencibia. AA has already stated that Wallace will spend the full season in the minors.

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  3. Hungry Jack says:

    Re Phil, I agree. But to Wallace’s credit, he is only 23 and holding his own against most OPS leaders who have at least 2-3 years on him. Among his age group, he’s producing more than anyone except Posey and Logan Morrison.

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  4. slackerjack says:

    Agree on Arencibia.

    (a) He is not taking advantage of the favourable hitting environment in Las Vegas, but has still posted a 306/354/616 line.

    (b) Over the past 10 games, he has been raking to the tune of 432/469/955.

    (c) Unlike many RHB in the minors, he crushes RHP. And does just fine against LHP as well.

    You just might see John Buck headed elsewhere at the trading deadline…

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    • ddriver80 says:

      I would really like to see that, but having Arencibia platoon with Molina, Molina is amazing defensively, and calls a fantastic game, Arencibia could learn alot from him.

      Another huge plus about Arencibia is how he has been raking with RISP, with a slash of .324/.385/.662/1.046 compared to .290/.338/.630/.968 with the bases empty.

      I really like the Wallace-Arencibia 3-4 tandem. Wouldn’t be surprised to see them hit together like that when they get to the Majors.

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      • Phil Plantier says:

        A future L/R/L trio of Wallace-Arencibia-Snider has a nice sound to it. Rebounds from Hill and Lind to go along with Wells could position the offense for sustained success.

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  5. Wallace is hitting .255/.322/.466 against RHP this season.

    Park adjusted, that’s a line of .240/.309/.438.

    I doubt we see him this season.

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    • ddriver80 says:

      Wallace really isn’t taking advantage of Las Vegas’ park.

      Home: .307/.380/.602/.910
      Away: .294/.345/.484/.829

      if you normalize his numbers, he should be raking in Las Vegas.

      Although looking through the 51′s splits, the only Lefty raking for the 51′s at home is Lubanski.

      Actually looking through the 51′s splits their home park hasn’t been an advantage to alot of their hitters

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      • slackerjack says:

        Hoffpaiur was the last guy I looked at, and there was about 200 points difference in his home/away OPS. Was surprised to see that Arencibia was not doing something similar, given what I have read about the hitting environment in Las Vegas.

        Completely off topic, but the craziest home/road split I have seen this year is Mike Moustakas:

        home: 230/319/420, 4 HR
        road: 421/475/865, 14 HR

        What’s up with that?

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  6. slackerjack says:

    Whoops, got those splits backwards. What I meant to show was that Moose Tacos has an OPS around 600 points better at home than on the road. On the road, he resembles the player who struggled badly in his first 2 full seasons of minor league baseball.

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  7. greenfrog says:

    The Jays could have a half-decent lineup in 2011 (assuming, of course, that Hill and Lind remember how to hit):

    Lewis LF
    Hill 2B
    Lind DH
    Wells CF
    Snider RF
    Bautista 3B
    Wallace 1B
    Arencibia C
    Gonzalez SS

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  8. Spartacus says:

    Just curious what list you are using that rates the prospects?

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  9. 2Gs says:

    From a keeper league perspective, who do you think will be the more valuable in the coming years: Justin Smoak or Brett Wallace?

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