Has Brett Wallace Arrived?

May 2, 2011

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Brett Wallace was hitting .143 before taking the field on April 8th. He collected three hits that day, the first of ten multiple-hit games that he would have over his next 21 games. Wallace has hit .456 over that span.
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The power numbers haven’t followed. Though he hit a home run that day, he hasn’t hit one since. Oddly he had three RBI in his first six games and only six since despite hitting 313 points higher.
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The alarms are ringing for a big-time drop if you look at his BABIP, which at .471 is second only to Matt Holliday’s .492.
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Side note: If you’re interested in checking out BABIP and other interesting statistics, go to www.fangraphs.com.
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While that .471 BABIP is unrealistic, which in turn makes his .382 batting average unrealistic, Wallace has had high BABIP at every level.
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Single-A 2008:  .388
Double-A 2008:  .385
Double-A 2009:  .348
Triple-A 2009 (A’s):  .341
Triple-A 2009 (Cardinals):  .335
Triple-A 2010:  .343

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Even last year when he hit .222 with the Astros his BABIP was .326.
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What makes Wallace’s BABIP this year more impressive is the reduction of his strikeout rate from 34.7 percent to 20.2 percent. He’s putting the ball in play more frequently and he’s still finding the right places to hit the ball.
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I believe his will continue to be an asset in the batting average category. No, he’s not going to hit .380+ all year, but he has the tools to hit north of .300.
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Unfortunately he’s not going to help in the power department. He combined to hit 20 HRs in his three minor league stops in 2009 and 18 in 2010 at the Triple-A level, but he has just three home runs in 233 major league at bats. He may eventually develop into a 15-20 per year home run hitter, but that will take some time to grow into it.
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Brett Wallace won’t be your prototypical fantasy first baseman, but he does have value.
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Also check out Will Jason Kubel Cool Off?

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