Last year, I did a series of posts on the 20 rookies that I think will make an impact in the upcoming baseball season. This off course was a rip-off of Donruss’s Rated Rookies from the 80s-90s. For this series I felt it best to focus only on players who will either arrive this season in the big leagues or those who have already appeared in the big leagues but maintained their rookie status. My second subject is Brett Wallace.
Brett has already had a well traveled career. Although after ending up in Oakland towards the end of last year, he should have known he was going to be shipped again not too long. Wallace was drafted out of Arizona St. University in 2008. I had felt at the time that he would be the first of his draft class to make it to the pros. I was mistaken, but it looks like one year later he is ready for the bigs and it appears that it will happen with the Blue Jays.
Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals, he was traded last season as part of the package for Matt Holliday. He was then traded by the A’s to Toronto as part of the Michael Taylor deal. What’s interesting is that Wallace was originally drafted by the Blue Jays back in 2005 in the 42nd round, but opted for college instead. Even with all the deals he has been part of, all Brett does is hit. In 2008 for both Quad Cities and Springfield (high A and AA), he hit a combined 0.337/8/36 in just 202 at bats.
Last season he split time between Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA) and Sacremento (AAA Oakland) and continued to not have a problem with advanced pitching as he hit a combined 0.293/20/68 in 532 at bats. He did have a problem with strikeouts, which is common among younger players, but he had 116 which is about where you would like to see a player in his first pro season. It is undecided as to where he is going to play, either at 3rd or 1st. If he is going to be a first baseman he is going to need to generate a bit more power.
I assume he is going to open up in AAA, but if Overbay or Encarnacion stumble early and Wallace is hitting, expect him to start his pro career sometime in May – June. Think of him as an Evan Longoria type hitter, with less power. His cards have been selling like hotcakes on eBay. They are running anywhere from $3 – $30, most of his autographs are from either TRISTAR or Razor, although there are also plenty of him on the UD Team USA cards. May personal favorite is the Razor Metal card that Razor sells on eBay. It will run you $13.50, but I think after seeing him in AAA, he is ready to make a splash in the big leagues.