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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.

  1. Spaceman

    Spaceman says:
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    Grey man, long time no post, but I’ve been following diligently this offseason. Love the new layout and content (as always). Keeper deadline in a 16 teamer tonight and I have 5 of 6 confirmed with; Fiedler, Stanton, Longoria, Greinke, Scherzer. Out of: Medlen, Latos, Rosario or A Jackson…who do you make your 6th keeper? Right now, I’m leaning towards Medlen. But your opinion may sway that choice :) Have an amazing NYE man and happy new year! The Spaceman

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Spaceman: Long time no you… Thanks for the kind words! None are clear cut so I say go with your gut and Medlen… Latos or Jackson would be the safer choices but you have five safe ones, so there’s that…

  2. Todd says:
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    Probably worth pointing out that he will be in the AL next season.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Todd: Yeah, shouldn’t change anything other than a few hundred ABs as the DH…

  3. Molly Lee says:
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    What’s your best prediction for Brandon Moss’ statistics for the upcoming season (ABs, HRs, BA, OBP, SLG, Ks)? Is there a chance he has suddenly found his groove?

    Happy New Year, Grey!!! And thanks for the awesome work!!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @Molly Lee: Moss will platoon again this year unless there’s an injury to Carter… I have projections for all players coming in the next two weeks… Happy New Year, Molly!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @L-Boogie: That’s awesome! Thanks! Happy New Year!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @L-Boogie: BTW, I showed cougar and she gave me sex after watching… Gangnam style!

      • L-Boogie says:
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        @Grey: Glad I could help. But she should give you sex WHILE watching.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I know, L-Boogs, take what you can, ya know?

    • Steve says:
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      @L-Boogie: 2013 is only hours old, but already I think everything else is fighting for second place for the Best Thing Of The Year for 2013.

  4. royce! says:
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    I like this pick. Wallace looks like a guy that could grow into an impressive pair of moobs, and we all know what happens next….No, not sexts from Grady; HR!

    Speaking of Wallace, I thought it was interesting that he kept getting moved for highly regarded prospects (being one himself, at least in 2010), and went to check BJ’s projections for Gose. He has him stealing 46 bags with a .253 AVG, plus 9 HR. That’s essentially 2012 Bourn. Then I realized that he doesn’t have a starting job anyway. And THEN, I ended this comment.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      @royce!: It’s all in the moobs… The good thing for the Blue Jays and their fans they are making a serious run at things this year… Bad news is Gose won’t be running anywhere because of it… Gose is the Blue Jays wing man…

  5. airweino says:
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    Will Wade Miley and Jarrod Parker continue to be solid SP options in 2013? Worth looking into trading for?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I wouldn’t go near Miley… Parker’s okay, depends how much you’re paying…

      • PaulyOH says:
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        @Grey: Wouldn’t go near Miley, huh? What if he’s your No. 3 starting pitcher (and your worst of 7 keepers) in a 10-team NL-only H2H points league. Is he ok in that slot?

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Yeah, he’s okay in that spot…

  6. OaktownSteve says:
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    I love it when I get those psychic flashes on guys in the off season. As much as I love the SABR numbers, I still use fundamental analysis and I’m still a believer in some Gladwell style “Blink” decision making.

    I’m also kind of interested in the AAAA player phenomenon. One of the places I look first is usually at the way a guy handles breaking balls. The idea being that the key differences in MLB vs AAA pitching is the command and the quality of the breaking stuff. In Wallace’s case it seems to be the change up that is giving him trouble. He would be bottom 10 in the league handling change ups among qualified players, a list that includes Frenchy, Carlos Pena, Mark Reynolds, Maybin, Kelly Johnson, Desmond Jennings and Chris Johnson. Trouble with the change and to a lesser extent the slider led to a high percentage of swinging strikes (would have been 5th highest among qualified) alongside Josh Hamilton, Chris Davis, Danny Espinosa, BJ Upton, Delmon Young, Soriano, Pena and Reynolds again and so on. The 28% K rate was bottom 10 in the league, with a lot of the same company: Pena, Johnson, Upton, Reynolds, Davis, and also Dunn, Granderson, Espinosa.

    The difference between Wallace and the majority of the rest of the guys on that list is that they are hitting a higher percentage (usually low 40%) of fly balls, which translates to more homers. Wallace’s 35% fly ball rate is below what you would see with the other guys who are profiling similarly on the swing and miss front: Granderson 44% FB, Pena 42.5%, Reynolds 42.5%, Hamilton 41%, Upton 41%, Jennings 38%, Davis 37.5%.

    The line drive percent gives kind of unclear information on the fantasy front. Some of his peers on the high line drive percentage front are: Pacheco, DeAza, Scutaro, Mauer, Molina, Ichiro, Ethier, Daniel Murphy, Neil Walker. So with Wallace, you have a mixed bag. He strikes out at a rate that looks like a pure power hitter, his HR/FB rate is decent at 16.5% but his batted ball profile is more like a gap to gap profile hitter. So in order for him to put together a really solid season he’s going to have to either improve his K rate significantly, in which case he starts to look like Matt Holliday, who’s HR/FB rate and FB rate were basically identical to Wallace’s last year (35%, 16.4%) but Holliday K’d at 19.1%. Or he has to start hitting the ball in the air more often when he does make contact in order to boost the HR total to compensate for the low average.

    That being said, I think your projections are not unrealistic based on last year’s numbers and even a nominal improvement in K rate. But there will need to be some improvement if there’s going to be a breakout. This is the magical age 27 year, so if it is ever going to happen, it’s probably now.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Nice breakdown! I more or less agree… He’s not without his issues, but for a guy that no one will be looking to draft with any excitement he’s got a chance for a solid season with just the slightest improvements… With a big improvement, he could be a big surprise… And totally agree that it’s this year or bust…

  7. Dave the Barber says:
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    Yo Grey,
    How do I sign up for a commenter league?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Signups happen in February once ESPN’s fantasy leagues open for business….

  8. LA Sound Guy says:
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    Two questions – How do I get an avatar? And are you a believer in Jonathan Lucroy? His per game value in 2012 was top 5 catcher. Do you suppose Maldonado will poach too many games for Lucroy to be a true sleeper?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      I like Lucroy, not enough to say he’ll be a top five guy… You go to gravatar.com and upload an avatar…

  9. Steve says:
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    It’s 2013 here, so Happy New Year, y’all.

    One day I might get around to actually asking a fantasy baseball question…

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! Is asking a fantasy baseball question your resolution? No need, we like you just the way you are…

  10. Z says:
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    Hey grey, happy new year. I’ve got all these guys at $1 with no limit to keep. Wo is a must-keep, who is a maybe (depending on better allocation of available auction money) and who is a dump?

    Jeter
    Morse
    Moustakas
    Freese
    Laroche
    C Davis
    Lowrie
    Colvin
    O Taveras
    S Marte
    Hughes
    Skaggs
    Shel Miller
    Peavy
    Samardzija

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Happy New Year! Depends on your league (how deep), who will be available, etc… All of them are worth $1 at least, so I could see keeping all of them… Colvin is the lowest on the totem pole and unless it’s a 16+ team league there’s no reason to keep him… Tavares would be next… Unless you have a bench spot for him, he’s a throw back too…

    • Alanv25 says:
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      @Z: I think in a previous post, Grey mentioned Sammy Ardjia (the last one in your list) is a sleeper. Would a sleeper be a must-keep, a maybe, or a dump?

      • Z says:
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        @alanv25 a sleeper would be a maybe or keeper, depends on how high he upside

        @grey, thanks. Curious how you think lowrie, Hughes, Marte, skaggs, miller shake out

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          Shake out in what way?

          • Z says:
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            @Grey: meaning 2013 production in why order? Or more abstractly who of them you like and who you think end up being waiver wire carousel guys this year?

            Btw, 10 team league holding 26, playing 24 with 9 P

            To use he auction $ I have ($60-80 depending on keeper contracts) I have to drop or trade some of those guys. Thinking of dropping Colvin and Hughes and maybe Lowrie and trading Skaggs. But curious if you like any of them…

  11. Smart, tantalizing analysis by both you and Oaktown Steve–and I especially appreciate your calm, ego-free reaction to what Steve added. The analysis was deepened by that back and forth. Thanks for that, and for all the other fun you gave us in 2012 and thanks for the fun posts to come in 2013. As I often say to myself, “Baseball makes me happy.” (And, yes, I know that line’s a winner; feel free to copyright it and use it on Razzball T-shirts. My gift to you. No thanks or percentage needed.) Happy New Year!

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Ha… Thanks! Happy New Year!

  12. Alanv25 says:
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    Yahoo’s depth chart has Wallace at DH, so this would limit his worth and make him less attractive, unless we’re talking about his naked pictures, in which case I’ll let someone else be the judge of that.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yeah, he’s going to DH this year for the majority of the year, which won’t matter because he played 1st base last year…

      • Bombo Rivera says:
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        @Grey:

        He also played 9 games at SS in the minors last year. Really. If the Astros decide they want to clinch the first pick in the draft, maybe they slot him there.

        Of course if that happened, Congress would probably step in to try to figure out why Wallace’s moobs were manning a premium defensive position.

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          I want Congress out of our fantasy baseball!

  13. C the P says:
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    With the acquisition of Hanrahan by Boston – what should we make of Andrew Bailey for the upcoming season?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Set up man…

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