Some may say former Cardinals first round pick Brett Wallace is the biggest mystery on the Houston Astros. He joined the squad in 2010 as a key component of the Roy Oswalt trade to the Phillies. The first baseman came to the bigs with a high ceiling. Brett accomplished a rare feat winning two triple crowns for Arizona State University in addition to being named two time Pac-10 Player of the Year (2007 and 2009.) Expectations have been all over the board for the 1st baseman. With new acquisition Nate Freiman and top prospect Jonathan Singleton knocking on the door, 2013 will be a pivotal year for Wallace in an Astros uniform.
(Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports)
Brett Wallace put up better power numbers last year in his brief stay in the majors. He cracked nine home runs along with ten doubles in 229 at bats. However, with the first round pick bar set high for Brett he has failed to meet many expectations. At one time Wallace was regarded as the type of guy who would put up high OBP numbers every year, similar to faces of the past like Berkman and Bagwell. Regardless of the expectations one can’t help but be a little happy with the progress Brett has made. He hit 16 homers in 86 games last year for AAA affiliate Oklahoma City.
The highly touted Wallace will find his place this season either with the Astros or with a minor league team in somebody’s farm system. The move to the AL may give him more opportunities with the DH option at his disposal. However, the window is closing just as fast as it has opened. The Astros signed free agent Carlos Pena, and seem determined to bring Jonathan Singleton up the pipeline quickly. Brett has a secondary position in third base that appears to be awarded to Matt Dominguez at the start of the season. Wallace will have to give the Astros and their fans quick results to stay afloat this year.
The 6’2 230 pound lumbering first baseman has the body, the natural ability, and what I believe the right mindset to make it in the big leagues. While I can’t promise Wallace can be a franchise player, I do believe he can be a solid middle of the lineup hitter. In a glass half full thought process a Wallace/Singleton DH/1b platoon couldn’t be better for the future. However, always remember Wallace is an Ed Wade guy, and Ed Wade’s guys have slowly found themselves leaving the Houston Astros. I plead Jeff Luhnow to give him at least 150 at bats to see if those 25 home runs last year were not a fluke. When the power comes I believe Brett will relax and the high on base ability will return. Brett Wallace could be the biggest hit or miss player of 2013.