A couple of reminders. First, The Baseball Cube’s rational behind their rankings. Secondly, if you click “The Cube” rankings under the player you go to their page. Just a heads up for those who want to kill more time.
In last weeks StU, I was asked about Brett Wallace because I mentioned/wrote that Yonder Alonso had the purest hitters swing in the 2008 draft, and Quintero mentioned that Wallace deserves part of that title. Well, I decided to hold my comment and write about him instead. There isn’t any other big news, just a reminder about young pitchers and innings cap warning written by Grey.
The Rays 2007 minor league pitcher of the year has slowly moved his way through the farm system. He was drafted in 2004 out of high school because he possesses a power arm that can pump his fastball up to 95-96 mph while typically working in the low to mid 90′s frame. He throws a tight 11-to-5 curveball with pinpoint control, a straight change-up and a cut-fastball (which seems to be all the rage now – think Scott Feldman and Roy Halladay). Many scouts figure he will be a top of the line pitcher, or a number two pitcher. Only time will tell. Statistically speaking, The Cube has his control (basically BB/9) down and his efficiency (essentially WHIP) up, but he doesn’t have great control as he has walked at least 3.4BB/9 since AA, and his WHIP in the upper levels has been 1.30-plus sans his 1.19 WHIP in 53 innings in 2008 in AAA (this year he is at 1.31 WHIP). Here is a more comprehensive stat table:
04 (R) 5.9 K/9 | 3 BB/9 | 57 2/3 IP | 1.2 HR/9 | 6.09 ERA | 1.56 WHIP
05 (A-ss) 10.2 K/9 | 2.4 BB/9 | 86 IP | .5 HR/9 | 2.72 ERA | 1.14 WHIP
06 (A) 10.2 K/9 | 3.9 BB/9 | 146 IP | .3 HR/9 | 3.02 ERA | 1.28 WHIP
07 (totals) 9.6 K/9 | 2.9 BB/9 | 158 1/3 IP | .5 HR/9 | 2.5 ERA | 1.13 WHIP
07 (A+) 10.1 K/9 | 2.4 BB/9 | 78 1/3 IP | .96 WHIP
07 (AA) 9.1 K/9 | 3.4 BB/9 | 80 IP |1.30 WHIP
08 (totals) 7.6 K/9 | 3.7 BB/9 | 160 2/3 IP | .7 HR/9 | 3.47 ERA | 1.30 WHIP
08 (AA) 6.8 K/9 | 3.5 BB/9 | 107 IP | 1.36 WHIP
08 (AAA) 9.3 K/9 | 4.1 BB/9 | 53 2/3 IP | 1.19 WHIP
09 (AAA) 8.2 K/9 | 3.7 BB/9 | 138 IP | .8 HR/9 | 3.39 ERA | 1.31 WHIP
Once he gets called up, no one needs to worry about his innings limit because he has pitched at least 146 in the last three years and is projected to do the same this year. Another positive all around is he gives up only a few long balls per nine innings (50 in 746 2/3 innings in his minor league career actually). Not to be a pessimist, but the other peripherals led me to have high reservations with Mr. Davis. First, his walks are ulcer worthy and migraine inducing. A career 3.4 BB/9 isn’t awful, however, it hasn’t improved with each promotion. Matter of fact, after each promotion his control worsened. One may say, “But he strikes out a ton of guys!!!” Even with the extra exclamation points, his K/9 has fallen each year. This year’s strikeout rate is half a strikeout better than last year, but a full strikeout less than he averaged in AAA prior to this year.
Honestly, I don’t like the way his numbers have soured, and I like Jeremy Hellickson way more. The Rays may call up Wade Davis this year, but I still wouldn’t spot start him. Now if they call up Hellickson … I would be on that like Bonds on ‘roids. Nevertheless, he has tremendous talent, a great persona, extremely tough mentally, but lacks consistency. Davis and Hellickson will be battle for a rotation spot next spring.
Brett Wallace | 3B | Oakland Athletics| DOB: 8/26/86 | 6-1 | 245 lbs | Bats/Throws: Left/Right | STL #2 prospect according to Baseball America (I am not going to try and rank him in according to Oakland, but number two would be pretty close there too)
The Cube: Power (95) | Speed (57) | Contact (73) | Patience (82)
Recently the center piece in the Matt Holliday trade, Oakland received a potential perennial All-Star at first base (or third and possibly the outfield – will explain later). Some scouts claimed that he had the purest swing in the 2008 draft while others said that about Yonder Alonso and even others said that about Justin Smoak. Take your pick, they are all good hitters. However, Wallace, like Alonso, was in the wrong side of the league for his body type. Wallace isn’t fat like Fielder or fit like Pujols, but is built more like Miguel Cabrera in his younger days – pudgy in the lower half but with definition in the upper half.
Does is truly matter? This guy can rake! In college he won the Pac-10 Triple Crown twice, has great power, above average plate discipline, and uses the whole field to hit. His largest question mark is what position he is going to play. In St. Louis, this was a much larger question because Pujols plays first. Wallace is not gifted athletically and third base would have been a struggle. His offense may be able to offset the negatives that his defense would produce, though it would only make him slightly above a replacement player. Dilemma avoided – trade him. The Oakland Athletics can DH him, play him at first or third (their outfield is a bit log-jammed at the moment). I would expect them to play first or DH, but with Chris Carter nearing the majors one of them will need to learn another position. However, the A’s have one of the top hitting prospects for 2010 in their system and he should blossom into a nice 20 to 25 homer guy. Lets look at his stats so far:
08 (total) .337/.427/.530 | 202 AB | 19.3 K% | 9.4 BB%
08 (A) .327/.418/.450 | 153 AB | 20.9 K% | 10 BB% | .163 ISO (5 HR)
08 (AA) .367/.456/.653 | 49 AB | 14.3 K% | 3.9 BB% | .286 ISO (3 HR)
09 (totals) .288/.364/.432 | 428 AB | 21.7 K% | 9.4 BB%
09 (AA) .281/.403/.438 | 128 AB | 26.6 K% | 12.3 BB% | .156 ISO (5 HR)
09 (AAA-St. Louis) .293/.346/.423 | 222AB | 18.9 K% | 6.3 BB% | .131 ISO (6 HR)
09 (AAA-Oakland) .284/.347/.443 | 88 AB | 21.6 K% | 8.3 BB% | .159 ISO (3 HR)
The walk rates, albeit a small sample to make drastic conclusions, is slightly above average and have worsened at AAA (though remember the sample size). He strikes out his fair share and hits for good power. The ISO is fairly decent, the slash lines look so-so this year, and I don’t have enough at-bats to make many claims. I know he has a good swing and the numbers seem to show that. I wouldn’t expect him to have the same power as Prince Fielder or Pujols or even Miguel Cabrera. His numbers remind me of Justin Morneau – decent walk rates, above average power, and good average. I would expect him to be in the A’s starting lineup for opening day 2010. I wouldn’t draft him with Longoria expectations or Alex Gordon. Remember he only has 14 homers this year in 400 plus AB. The power will come, but not for a few more years. Hold your hype in check and expect success to slowly come late next year.