Should Owners Buy Brett Wallace In 2010? Just Say No!

Brett Wallace is considered one of the best prospects in the game, yet he has been traded not once, but twice, since late July.  Should that tell us something about what teams truly think of him?  Could he be just an overhyped prospect fantasy owners should be ignoring?

First, let’s take a look at his statistics in 2009:

532 At Bats
.293 Batting Average (156 Hits)
20 Home Runs
63 RBI
76 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.367 On Base Percentage
.455 Slugging Percentage

Things You Should Know:

  • While he was traded twice, once was as part of the Matt Holliday trade, so that explains the first deal very easily.  Going from Oakland to Toronto shouldn’t mean much, either, especially considering the A’s ultimate ability to acquire Kevin Kouzmanoff.
  • Jonathan Mayo of mlb.com recently ranked him as the 16th best prospect in baseball.
  • He could be in line to see everyday at bats in Toronto, who could use him as a DH and Adam Lind in the outfield.
  • Since being drafted in the first round of the 2008 draft he has hit .297, with all but 153 of his 755 AB coming at Double-A or above.
  • His average has been helped by an above average BABIP (last season he was at .343).  He struck out 21.8% of the time, a number that could jump in the Majors, though at the time of the draft mlb.com’s scouting report said “His unbelievable plate discipline will undoubtedly be attractive to some teams”.  If that is true the strikeouts may not rise, but e hit just .293 last season and should be in line for decreased luck.
  • He has not shown exceptional power (just 28 HR in his Minor League career) and also doesn’t have the pure upside to get there.  For his minor league career he’s posted a flyball rate of 28.7%, exactly what he posted for three different teams in 2009.  With a number like that it is hard to imagine him being a big-time Major League home run hitter.
  • For a big-time prospect, how could he drive in just 63 RBI?  He’s supposed to be a run producer, but has yet to truly show it.
  • He is just 23-years old, so there is plenty of upside potential there, but it is hard to imagine it flourishing so suddenly, especially given the concerns we have for him.

2010 Projection:
.275 (117-425), 14 HR, 50 RBI, 50 R, 1 SB, .324 BABIP, .327 OBP, .421 SLG

Conclusion:
Don’t get me wrong, Wallace has the talent and the potential to be a fantasy mainstay for many years to come (say .290, 25 HR).  In 2010, however, I’m not buying it.  Even if he gets regular playing time in Toronto, there are too many concerns to make him worth investing too heavily in for the upcoming season.  The average is going to fall, he hasn’t proven to be a big run producer and the power just isn’t quite there yet.

What are your thoughts?  Do you see him being a major contributor in 2010?  Why or why not?

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3 comments

  1. BLAZE says:

    At this exact time last year i loved Brett Wallace, but like you’ve mentioned the power doesnt seem to be there yet. I read him being compared to the “Mayor” Sean Casey lol.

    I do think he’ll eventually be a good player *maybe more in real life*, but keep in mind if he ends up at 1b his value takes a bigger hit b/c almost every 1b can hit 20-25 homers.

    Im NOT buying Brett Wallace stock until that nasty statistic (28.7 FB%) goes up. That screams i dont hit homers. Unless you’re Joe Mauer last year and that debate is cooking already.

  2. Jimmy says:

    I think Wallace is more of a complete major league player than one who will turn heads in fantasy leagues, as Blaze alluded to. I think he has a good understanding of hitting, but especially with his size, he hasn’t really shown the power numbers you’d expect or want from a corner infielder.

  3. John Galbraith says:

    I think your points disagree with each other.

    Your fourth bullet point pegs Wallace’s minor league career as 755 at bats. Your sixth point says that he has “only” 28 home runs.

    If you put those things together, 28 homers in his first 755 pro at-bats, that’s very good power: about 24 homers per season already… and he’s still developing.

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