I’m most surprised and most excited about this sleeper post because no one is going to want any part of an Astro, let alone this one. Brett Wallace has done nothing to elicit excitement thus far in his career. I could wrangle a group of fantasy baseballers together and get more excitement about the second coming of Grady Sizemore, and I’m talking about his naked pictures, not his on-field second coming, because he’s up to around a fifth or sixth coming in that arena. Wait a second, I just stumbled on brilliance. Arena Baseball! Baseballs made of rubber! A field half the size! Juiced up players! Hmm, that just sounds like regular baseball in the late 90′s. So, Wallace has meandered around the major leagues. No teams really wanted him. He was a 1st baseman in the Blue Jays, Cardinals and A’s systems prior to his current home. Where do prospects go to die? Houston. Yes. I know. In the major leagues, he has a grand total of 16 homers in 232 games. That’s obnoxiously bad. Worse, he’s a 1st baseman (though, he will be 3rd base eligible in some leagues; 5 games started there). With all of those negatives up front, what can we expect of Brett Wallace for 2013 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
He’s a .330 BABIP guy. Yay, that’ll come in handy in my BABIP league! Yes, Random Italicized Voice, but that’s due to his line drives. For hitters with at least 250 plate appearances, he has the tenth best line drive percentage. Shorthand: he hits the ball well. How well, The Match Game audience asks. He averaged 412 feet on his average homer last year. Average is just under 400 in the NL. For comparison sake, Giancarlo averaged 413 feet of “True Distance” on his homers (of course, there were a lot more of them). So, Wallace hits “No-doubters” and a bunch of line drives. Add in he has destroyed the minor leagues and has always been considered a good prospect, even being drafted in the first round way back in 2008. There’s some more negatives. He strikes out a lot. It’s good contact, or no contact for Mr. Wallace. He could hit .250 with a bunch of line drives and some monster shots. That’s not great outside of NL-Only leagues. But — and this is a Rebel Wilson-sized but — there’s a chance he lowers his strikeout rate to minor league levels, hits .300+ with 20+ homers. I like line drives and long homers from a former top prospect. And, while I don’t like the Astros, I like that they will play him and probably bat him in a good counting stats spot in the lineup. For 2013, I could see a line of 67/19/82/.263/1 with upside and a very nice sleeper for your corner infield slot in deep leagues. I know, those projections are a bit yawnstipating, but they’re really not totally far off from, say, Freddie Freeman, and something’s gnawing at me besides my genital crabs that I swore to attend to for my New Year’s resolution, I think Wallace could be one of those guys that kind of comes out of nowhere and has a big season.