Most fans have kept a close eye on Brett Wallace‘s numbers this season in Oklahoma City hoping for some sort of insight into his development. Early on, his season looked much like his seasons with the Astros in 2010 and 2011 but over the last month he began to show the promise that made him the cornerstone to a number of high profile trades. The power had returned and the on base percentage was going up, we all smiled and began to hope to see him in Houston this season at 1st base. That day has arrived folks, Brett Wallace is a Houston Astro once again with the announcement Carlos Lee is being placed on the DL with a bad hammy.
Lee will be missed, say what you’d like but he was having a fairly productive season but this is Wallace’s opportunity. As tough as it must have been to see his assignment to AAA at the end of Spring Training or even last season at the trade deadline, he could make those bad memories disappear. More importantly, he could make all his hard work pay off nicely with a strong showing. Unless Lee is dealt while on the DL, Wallace’s tenure in Houston could be short so showing something right away is crucial. That something is hopefully power, he has shown the ability to get on base at this level but needs to show he can drive the ball and not bounce out to 2nd weakly so frequently.
The end result might be that he is just a AAAA player who explodes at AAA but can never get over the hump at the big league level. We see that every day in baseball so the odds might be against the big first baseman/third baseman. The key might be third base, his ability to re-learn the third base position might keep him up here. I like Matt Downs but he is struggling badly and now in OKC, if Brett Wallace hits at this level then Downsy could be the victim of his success. Once Lee is dealt, Wallace could slide back to first. The Astros should not look to forgo hot hitting for loyalty at this stage. Downs has been a fine player with the Astros since arriving but if you can’t hit and aren’t a stud defensively maybe a move is necessary. Whatever course they choose, this is Wallace’s last chance with the Stros. Sure we may see him again at some point, if he fails this go around, but the expectations will never be the same if that happens.