Player Profile: Brett Wallace
Next up on our tour of the Astros 40 man roster is Brett Wallace. Wallace was acquired by the Astros from the Blue Jays for Anthony Gose. Gose, most remember was acquired along with J.A. Happ and Jonathan Villar in a deal for Roy Oswalt earlier that day. Upon being acquired, then General Manager Ed Wade declared him to be the first baseman of the future and touted his offensive ability when he referred to him as a hitting machine. Wallace has been anything but that since donning the Astros jersey.
Brett Wallace was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 42nd round of the 2005 MLB Draft. Wallace did not sign, but instead, went to Arizona State University where he starred. While at Arizona State, Wallace was a two time Pac 10 player of the year and a two time triple crown winner. After he had concluded his collegiate career, he entered the 2008 MLB draft, where he was selected 13th overall in the 1st round by the St. Louis Cardinals. On July 24, 2009, Wallace was traded to the Oakland Athletics as part of a package (centered around himself) for Matt Holiday. Later that year, on December 15, 2009, Wallace was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays straight up for Michael Taylor. Taylor was acquired by the Blue Jays in the deal that sent Roy Halladay to the Phillies. Finally, on July 29, 2010, Wallace was traded for a final time to the Houston Astros.
Brett Wallace is a very frustrating player. He has literally killed the ball at every level that he has played except for the big leagues. When the Astros acquired him for Anthony Gose, I was ecstatic. At the time, Lance Berkman was not playing well and had been in a slow decline for a few years. The Astros had nothing in the farm in terms of a legit first baseman or even a semi decent first baseman. I thought Wallace could be a very nice first baseman for us for quite a while. I had even liked Wallace going back to the 2008 draft. When Wallace was drafted, he was a third baseman as he had played that position his entire life, clear through Arizona State. With the Astros picking tenth in the 2008 draft, I was looking at first and third base prospects for us, specifically Brett Wallace and Justin Smoak. So when we were able to acquire him two years after passing on him in the draft, I was elated.
Wallace has struggled with the bat tremendously during his tenure on the big league club. As of today, Wallace has a career .248 batting average with a mere 7 home runs and 42 rbi. He was finally sent down to AAA Oklahoma City on August 1, 2011 as he was just not hitting. Wallace could definitely still turn it around and I really hope he does, but the problem will be finding him an everyday spot. As of now, Carlos Lee is entrenched as the first baseman of the Houston Astros for the 2012 season. Lee has been the subject of trade rumors this entire offseason and could still be dealt by opening day. J.D. Martinez, who was called up to the Astros from AA Corpus Christi after Hunter Pence was traded, hit very well in half a season with the big league club. He is currently projected to be the everyday left fielder. With LF and 1B seemingly locked up, its hard to find a spot for Wallace barring a trade. My prediction for Wallace is that Carlos Lee will be traded this offseason opening up a golden opportunity for Wallace to be the everyday 1B of the Houston Astros. I just hope he fares a lot better this time around than he did during his first stint.