Is Brett Wallace the new Chris Davis?


Houston is considering starting 2011 with Brett Wallace in the minors for more seasoning but this could provide a large imbalance in their lineup. The Astros only have four left-handed hitters on their roster including Brett Wallace. And none of the other three (Jason Castro, Michael Bourn, and Brian Bogusevic) are middle of the order guys. Meaning their 2-5 hitters (Keppinger, Pence, Lee, and Johnson) are all right-handed. This could also include the 6th spot if newly-acquired Clint Barmes is penciled in there although I don’t see Brad Mills making such an ill-advised move. A couple ways leaving Wallace off the active roster could work:

1. The Astros could move Carlos Lee to first and use Brian Bogusevic as a lefthanded hitter in LF. Bogusevic would be a large upgrade over Lee defensively but he hasn’t had a chance to prove himself with the bat in the majors yet. Bogusevic could also platoon with right-handed hitting outfielder Jason Michaels. The Astros lineup would look something like:

L Bourn
R Keppinger
R Pence
R Lee
R Johnson
L Bogusevic
R Barmes
L Castro

As compared to their most likely lineup with Wallace at first;

L Bourn
R Keppinger
R Pence
R Lee
L Wallace
R Johnson
L Castro
R Barmes

2. Signing a left-handed middle-of-the order bat such as Adam LaRoche (Carlos Pena would have also been a good fit but he’s signed with the Cubs). Now LaRoche would only serve as a fill-in until Wallace is ready for his next try. However, if Houston were to opt for this type of situation their lineup would look something like….

L Bourn
R Keppinger
R Pence
L LaRoche
R Lee
R Johnson
L Castro
R Barmes

When an extra left-handed bat is needed, Bogusevic could give Lee the day off:

L Bourn
R Keppinger
L LaRoche
R Pence
L Bogusevic
R Johnson
L Castro
R Barmes

This gives an idea L/R alternation so neither handedness of pitcher can mow through any part of the lineup. Of course, this can all be decimated by the right use of an opponent’s bullpen which makes having a bench capable of hitting from both sides equally as important.

I don’t expect Ed Wade to sign a veteran to a 0ne-year deal unless as a reserve simply because Brett Wallace is still this team’s future at first base and showed signs of realizing that potential late last season. However, if Houston does bring in someone like an Adam LaRoche, it would only make their lineup more dangerous. Ed Wade has money to spend, let’s see what he can come up with this winter. And let’s hope Brett Wallace doesn’t follow in Chris Davis’ footsteps.

Tags: Brett Wallace Ed Wade Houston Astros MLB Free Agency Winter Meetings