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Last week in the "notes from minor league camp" we discussed the body size of Brett Wallace.  Wallace was a third baseman prior to the Jays acquiring him but the Jays decided to immediately switch him to first base.  Most scouts had thought this was an inevitable move due to Wallace's size.  Today we review the photo evidence.

Our first picture is of Wallace about to step into the Batters Box.  This picture gives you a good impression of his body type.  I think he does like a little like Snider from the rear.

Our second shot is Wallace at first base warming up the infield.

And finally another Wallace shot taking a throw from an infielder.

Minor League POTD - Brett Wallace | 37 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
whiterasta80 - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 02:08 PM EDT (#213208) #
Doesn't seem to have changed that much since the draft actually. I remember looking at images before the draft and thinking that he had a really weird body then. Scared me so bad I actually supported the Cooper pick.

I'd still prefer to get a couple of 3B years out of him before he moves (ala Jim Thome/Killebrew) but its pretty clear looking at that body that he's destined for 1B (or DH) in the longterm.
christaylor - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 03:24 PM EDT (#213214) #
I still and never will don't understand the timidity of the Jays at putting him at 3B half the time in AAA and 1B the other half the time. He may be destined to be a 1B, but it'd be nice if he had that position flexibility when he first hits the majors -- probably 2011 because he'll struggle and Overbay will be gone. Is he really that uncomfortable w/1B that he need a whole year to practice there?

Troy Glaus didn't exactly have a Mike Schmidt or George Brett body either and I remember fondly when he took his position at SS against the South Siders in 06. Sure it was Ted Lilly on the mound and J-Mac was a defensive sub but he hit and the Jays won (yes, I just looked it up, but 06 was my first "flex-pack"). Not that Wallace could play SS, but jeez at least give 'em a chance.
92-93 - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 04:11 PM EDT (#213217) #
I agree. It was perplexing to see the Jays move Taylor for Wallace and then immediately announce he's switching to 1B, considering the system includes Lind, Snider, Ruiz, Dopirak, and Cooper. It's more likely that Wallace could become a passable 3B than Encarnacion, who has proven over countless opportunities that just isn't happening. I don't understand why Wallace isn't going to be given a chance to play everyday at 3B from the moment his bat is deemed ready.
John Northey - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 04:51 PM EDT (#213218) #
Safe bet that their scouts told them 'no hope' at 3B thus the move.

While a pure hitter at third would be nice, I think if the Jays want pitching/defense then you got to give up on keeping guys at the wrong position.

An example of keeping at the wrong position: if Delgado was moved to LF or 1B in the low minors instead of kept at CA he might have made it a lot quicker and would have 500 HR by now and been a bit better with the glove.
Dave Rutt - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 05:42 PM EDT (#213222) #
Delgado is a bit of an extreme example, though, since playing catcher is so different from playing anywhere else on the diamond. 1B and 3B, on the other hand, really aren't that different - both require range in one direction, while 3B requires more in terms of arm strength and accuracy, and 1B requires more receiving skills. So perhaps the issue is with Wallace's arm? I don't know, but like others who posted above me I would like to see him get some time at third.
cascando - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 06:49 PM EDT (#213224) #
I don't see anything wrong with being proactive based on the scouting reports.  Perhaps it is better to let Wallace use his time in the minors to develop into a quality 1B, if that is where he's destined to end up in the near future. 

As a somewhat relevant comparison, would the Brewers be any worse off today if they hadn't given Ryan Braun a chance to prove he could play 3B?  Probably the opposite--they missed the playoffs by 2 games in 2007 while Braun had 26 errors and a -23.7 UZR in 112 games.
Ducey - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 06:53 PM EDT (#213225) #
I guess I am the only one freaked out you guys are discussing some guy's body and looking at photos of his butt?  :-)
92-93 - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#213226) #
"As a somewhat relevant comparison, would the Brewers be any worse off today if they hadn't given Ryan Braun a chance to prove he could play 3B?"

Yes, because they'd have a potential asset on their hand going to waste if he was an average 3B. Of course, if they were in the middle of a playoff race, that was a very poor idea. Not caring about Wallace's initial defensive performance is a luxury the Jays have and should be utilizing, much like they seem to be doing with E5. He would have had plenty of time to become a competent 1B before this team is ready to compete in the event he wasn't able to handle the hot corner.
Thomas - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 07:29 PM EDT (#213227) #
He looks less walrus-like than I feared.
greenfrog - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#213230) #
"considering the system includes Lind, Snider, Ruiz, Dopirak, and Cooper"

Actually, I think the Jays liked Wallace as a true long-term solution at 1B, whereas the other 1B options in the organization weren't really that appealing. Snider is an outfielder (Keith Law thinks he's been unfairly labelled as a defensive liability in the OF), Ruiz is 32, and Dopirak and Cooper are fairly fringy at the moment (and DC is apparently a terrible fielder). Lind is a more plausible choice, but I guess the Jays are more comfortable with him as a DH/LF. Wallace is 23, can hit, and has soft hands--he just doesn't have a lot of range. Despite the fact that EE is currently starting at 3B, I get the sense that AA is ultimately aiming for strong defence at the hot corner and other key positions.

For me the big question is whether Wallace is Overbay v.2 (career 811 OPS), which is respectable enough, or something more exciting. Time will tell.
ayjackson - Wednesday, April 07 2010 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#213233) #
Bingo, Greenfrog.  I'm right with you.  I think the Jays are addressing long term position by position.  The guy they really wanted from Philly was Brown for long-term CF.  They got a corner guy they didn't need long term (Snider, Wells for now, Sierra, Thames later).  So they flipped him for a long term 1Bman - one they thought could be an above average fielder.  I don't think they had one in Lind, Dopirak, Ruiz, Cooper.
92-93 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 04:05 AM EDT (#213239) #
He doesn't lose his ability to become the long term 1B by failing for a few months at 3B this year. There's nothing to lose, and tons to gain.
scottt - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 06:32 AM EDT (#213242) #
Let's imagine there is a point in having Wallace at third for a couple of years. Who's on first once Overbay is gone? Bautista? What do you do with Encarnation? Just drop him a la Rios?
Chuck - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 08:49 AM EDT (#213248) #
What do you do with Encarnation? Just drop him a la Rios?

If the Jays could get someone to simply assume the balance of Encarnacion's contract (1 yr, $5M), they would jump at the opportunity.
MatO - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#213253) #
On a surprising note.  Michael Taylor didn't make the A's roster after having a sub-Mendoza spring and a Mendoza-like 0 walks in 39 AB's.
Ryan Day - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#213256) #
On the one hand, I tend to think that you should leave a guy at a position until he shows he can't handle it. At worst, there's no harm in having a first baseman who can play a bit of third now and then.

But on the other hand: If your scouts say a guy can't play a position, why leave him there? Ricciardi took plenty of flak for keeping guys at positions others said they shouldn't be playing, a la Russ Adams and Eric Hinske. And if you want Wallace to become a good defensive first baseman, he's going to need practice and playing time; it may be one of the easiest positions, but you still need to do more than just toss him a glove one day and call him a first baseman.

whiterasta80 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 10:57 AM EDT (#213261) #
The problem with the route the organization is taking with Wallace is that it assumes that Wallace can hit like a 1B, which isn't clear yet.

Greenfrog mentioned the potential for Wallace to be Overbay ver 2.0, and that is a very real possibility. His OPS was .822 last season, not bad, but very Overbay like. There were 32 guys who OPS'd better than that at 1B last year. Without serious progression Wallace is not that big of an assett at 1B. Conversely, .822 is top 10 material at 3B. You can sacrifice a little defense if you are getting a top 10 slugging third baseman. Why not take this chance?

At the same time, while Adam Lind is terrible defensively in the outfield, he has proven he can hit like a 1B (there were only 15 players in all of BASEBALL who out OPS'd him). He also played 1B throughout college and is signed longterm at VERY reasonable money. Personally I think HE is the guy we should be committing to at 1B.

To me, this seems like a no brainer.

Also, the notion that it would "stunt his development at 1B" is laughable. Historically there is essentially NO learning curve for 1B.
Ryan Day - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 11:19 AM EDT (#213265) #
Positional value isn't very valuable if you can't play the position. Wallace would probably be a pretty awesome hitter for a shortstop, but he can't play shortstop, so who cares? So even if he's a good hitter for a third baseman, it's not relevant if he's so bad defensively that it wipes out any offensive advantage.
Dewey - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 12:24 PM EDT (#213275) #
Snider is an outfielder (Keith Law thinks he's been unfairly labelled as a defensive liability in the OF)

I agree with Law then.  I simply have not seen evidence of Snider being a poor fielder.  He's hardly graceful, but he gets the job done; and he's even made a few catches you wouldn't have expected many OFs to make.  I have seen him poorly positioned; but why weren't his coaches on his case then?   He's learning.  People seem so eager to get down on him.  Why?  Is it the old tall poppy syndrome (as the Aussies call it).  Sticks it head up a bit high above the others, inviting someone with a stick to slice it off.  Ergo, best not to be a tall poppy.  Make sure your talents aren't too exceptional. boys.  Not always well tolerated. 
Chuck - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 12:39 PM EDT (#213277) #

Why?  Is it the old tall poppy syndrome

I think it may be a wide poppy syndrome, the assumption being that a hefty guy must be a slow guy. That said, his body shape seems much improved from last year, a definitely encouraging sign and hopefully one that bodes well for his defensive play.

92-93 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#213283) #
"Positional value isn't very valuable if you can't play the position."

I'm very concerned if the same scouts who decided E5 could bridge the gap at 3B for a team clearly interested in its defense (Buck, Gonzalez, Bautista) also decided Wallace couldn't play the position before he even joined the organization. He's the worst 3B in the game, and has been for years.
Mike Green - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 03:05 PM EDT (#213293) #
Snider was not, and is not, horribly slow.  His arm is strong, if erratic. The major issue concerned his instincts and routes to the ball.  When he was drafted, they seemed to be terrible.  His instincts have improved to the point that he looks merely like a routinely poor defender with average speed.  The importance of his reduced weight is that it gives hope that he will be a decent outfielder for the next 3-4 years while he is still young and his instincts perhaps improve still further. 
Ryan Day - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 03:12 PM EDT (#213294) #
The difference is that Encarnacion is a short-term stopgap for the position, in the absence of other legit options for the position. I'll be surprised if he's with the team in 2011, let alone after that. Wallace is part of the long-term plan, so it makes sense to have in the place he's going to be for the future.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 04:13 PM EDT (#213296) #
I still disagree with the notion that Wallace can't play 3B. But that isn't the point, the point is we don't know one way or another but aren't bothering to find out.

What we do know is

1. First base is easy to play
2. Adam Lind can hit like a 1B, and would be better served playing there
3. Brett Wallace needs to take a MAJOR step forward to be anything more than a middle of the road 1B
4. Edwin Encarnacion is an abysmal 3B defensively
5. We have no 3B prospects in the minors
6. Brett Wallace has (numerically) played passable defense at 3B at every minor league stop

I never suggested moving him to SS, that's ridiculous, I suggested moving him to a position he has played for several years and has handled generally well at every minor league stop. Certainly better than Edwin and several other major leaguers did.

Ryan, from your statements it seems as if your contention is that Wallace's development at 1B will be severely impeded by putting him at 3B for another year or two and that our major league team will eventually suffer because of this. Am I correct in saying that?

If that's your contention I couldn't disagree more.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 04:16 PM EDT (#213297) #
And I agree that Snider looks just fine as an outfielder at this stage of his career. Assuming a slight improvement in reads and accuracy of throws I could see him being a plus defender. Sometimes you can't go by body type alone.

Kirby Puckett spent years patrolling the Metrodome, quite well I might add, and he may have had the worst body on an outfielder I've ever seen.
Ryan Day - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 04:44 PM EDT (#213302) #
But that isn't the point, the point is we don't know one way or another but aren't bothering to find out.

It's true that we - you and I - don't know how good Wallace is at third. I've certainly never seen him play, and I don't have much professional scouting expertise even if I did.

But other people have seen him play. Plenty of scouts have seen him play in college and in the minors, and most of them seem to think he's not a third baseman. Check out this BA chat before the 2008 draft, for example.

So why make plans around a guy playing a position when you're not sure he's going to stick there? (Witness the Russ Adams experiment, for example)

I wouldn't say that playing third will stunt his development, but I'd also suggest you can't just throw a guy a first baseman's mitt and expect him to be competent right away. Did you ever watch Carlos Delgado when he came up?

Encarnacion doesn't really enter into it one way or another: Wallace probably won't be ready until next year, and Encarnacion will probably be gone by then.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 05:25 PM EDT (#213310) #
I actually do remember Delgado at 1B when he came up. But I think he illustrates my point more than it does yours. Yes he did improve over the years, but I don't think his improvement was as significant as our broadcasters led us to believe. He remained a terrible defender his whole career. And at no point do I believe his defense went from "hurting us" to "helping us", it always hurt us, but his bat made up for it. There's a better chance of Wallace doing that at 3B than 1B.

Now, I will happily concede that scouts are better suited than me to make this call. And If circumstances required us to use a scouts opinion this would be critical.

Your Russ Adams example is a good one. He was playing SS instead of 2B (neither of which he is really capable of playing) on a team expected to content. This is where you'd need to listen to your scouts, or you can fall out of contention.

But in Wallace's case we're at least 3 seasons from contending. There's plenty of time to get performance based evidence rather than simply scouting reports. Given the option, I'll take performance over scouting.

Wallace could easily play third for us next year, and move to first the next season if we don't see anything from him.
whiterasta80 - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 05:27 PM EDT (#213311) #
Plus, your argument about placing Wallace at 1B completely ignores the fact that we're wasting Adam Lind, a proven major leaguer, by not playing him at 1B. That's where his value is maximized.
Spifficus - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#213316) #
I thought the team working off the near-consensus opinion of scouts would be a good thing :). Isn't that the mantra of the new team? Out-scout everyone else?

6. Brett Wallace has (numerically) played passable defense at 3B at every minor league stop

Are you referring to the Total Zone numbers on If so, throwing in small sample size caveats, it seems to indicate the opposite. In just over a year of data at 3B, he's been a -11 fielder. Combined with the scouting reports, I think they should let him get comfortable in his future position and see if they can make him a plus defender there as opposed to rolling the dice on trying to make him passable at third.
Dewey - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 08:40 PM EDT (#213326) #
[Snider's]  instincts have improved to the point that he looks merely like a routinely poor defender with average speed.

Wow, talk about damning with faint praise:   “merely”;  “routinely poor”  and with “average speed”.  And that’s after he’s improved!   I just don’t get this, Mike.  You consistently reveal/betray an animus against Snider.   What exactly gets up your nose about him? 
Mike Green - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 08:56 PM EDT (#213327) #
Nope.  I cheered publicly on the day Snider was drafted, and indicated numerous times that I felt that he was the best hitting prospect in the organization since Delgado.  I wish him nothing but the best.

However, I saw scouting video of him prior to his selection and felt that he looked very poor in the outfield.  I wasn't alone in that assessment.  He has improved since then.  He made a couple of nice plays last year.  This year,  he has made one diving catch, but that was on a ball that he misread and then took a circuitous route to. 

Dewey - Thursday, April 08 2010 @ 09:37 PM EDT (#213329) #
O.K., thanks, Mike.   I guess i saw things in a couple of your posts that weren't there.  It happens.  I became so smitten with Snider  as he moved steadily up through the ranks, hitting bumps, but moving on before long, that I think I'm secretly afraid he might not pan out.  And I'm too old for much more of that.  I hope the kid breaks out soon, because he hasn't looked so good at the plate thus far.   Sheesh.  Tough game.
whiterasta80 - Friday, April 09 2010 @ 10:28 AM EDT (#213350) #
Spifficus, again, I agree that out-scouting everyone else is the new Jays mantra and we should use that whenever possible. But scouting is not necessary in this case. We can decide based on ACTUAL PERFORMANCE, we don't need scouting reports to come to a conclusion. Those scouts are better served finding the next Brett Wallace.

That said, I couldn't find the Total Zone numbers and had to go on what I had for the "passable defense" conclusion. Thanks for the link, it certainly suggests his future might be elsewhere. You could make the argument that "actual performance" has already dictated that he is inadequate at 3B. That is a perfectly justifiable conclusion to come to from those numbers, I can't argue it.

In the end though, I still don't think Wallace's future should be at first base, at least not in this organization.

There's no guarantee that he'll be a better defender at 1B than he is at 3B. And he'll need to be a heavy plus defender at 1B to make up for his hitting, to date.

In the meantime Adam Lind plays monumentally better when he is not DHing (+.100 OPS), something that is true for many, if not the majority, of major leaguers. He already has experience at 1B, hits like one, and is locked up through his prime.

To me that makes Wallace a "blocked prospect" at first base, and it makes it worth trying him at 3B.
Timbuck2 - Friday, April 09 2010 @ 11:30 AM EDT (#213352) #
whiterasta80 - normally I'm in agreement with pretty much everything you say but I don't think this list was though out very well:

1. First base is easy to play

If 1st base is so easy to play they why isn't everyone who plays it a plus defender?  Picking errant throws to first out of the dirt (or sky) is not something every first baseman does easily.

2. Adam Lind can hit like a 1B, and would be better served playing there

Then why haven't we seen him spell Overbay more at first base?  I suspect he lacks the 'soft hands' required for good defenders at that position - something that Wallace apparently has in abundance if he stuck for so long at 3rd.

3. Brett Wallace needs to take a MAJOR step forward to be anything more than a middle of the road 1B

The kids only 23.  He hits for average but the power has yet to come.  This is a very common theme for young prospects.  If he turns into a .300/.360/.470 hitter who hits 20-25 HR a year I for one will be very happy.  He did hit .293/.367/.455 with 20 HR last year in the minors...

4. Edwin Encarnacion is an abysmal 3B defensively

I honestly think too many people here on da box are being too hard on E5.  We've been spoiled watching Scott Rolen the last few years and there aren't many players in the majors (current or past) that compare to his defensive wizardry at 3rd.  I would consider EE about league average at the moment with some upside.

5. We have no 3B prospects in the minors

We have a few potential 3rd basemen in the minors!  Ahrens (and most of the hitters in the system) was rushed and may yet bounce back.  Emaus could possibly transition over.  If more than one of our highly touted shortstops (Hechavarria, Jackson, Pastornicky) develops then one of them may be moved to third as well.

6. Brett Wallace has (numerically) played passable defense at 3B at every minor league stop

Passable in the minors is NOT passable in the majors.  I'd rather give him the time to get more experience at his 'natural' position than waste his time at a position he isn't destined to stay at in the major leagues.  This goes back to #1 on your list - 1st base is harder to play than you think or else everyone who played it would be a plus defender.

Timbuck2 - Friday, April 09 2010 @ 11:35 AM EDT (#213353) #
And also speaking of Mr Wallace - the Las Vegas Review has a story about him today....
Spifficus - Friday, April 09 2010 @ 11:40 AM EDT (#213355) #
The scouting comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek. I even included a smiley for good measure.

As for Wallace's defensive future, this is where we need to defer to the scouts, who I believe mention a good arm, good hands, and a chunky butt (ok, 'wide hips') that limits his lateral quickness. I think Law and others indicated this plays much better at first than third, and given the major task of a 1B is to scoop semi-errant throws from infielders, I believe he can be an asset with the glove there given the good reports on his hands. Add this to my belief that he's going to be Overbay vs RHP against both righties and lefties, I think he'll definately be above average for the position.

On Lind and DHyness, it's a sample size issue. His year was actually split into 5 parts - a really hot pretty-much-all DH 39 game start, a split LF/DH 54 game period that was about on par with the year, a 15 game all-DH slump, another 20 games in LF as hot as his opening stretch, and an equally hot half-and-half to close out the year. He's not someone who suffers from DHing. He had a slump, and it happened to correspond with a DH stretch.

Since I'm not worried about Lind DHing, I think Wallace could be an above average 1B on both offense and defense, and I also want 3b to be above average defensively long-term, moving Wallace now is the way to go. Passable defense (which I read replacement-level defense, which is, what -5 runs?) at two positions on the infield starts adding up.

Interesting thoughts either way, and though I side with the organization on this one (get him in place early and see how he develops), I can see your side of it.
Ryan Day - Friday, April 09 2010 @ 11:54 AM EDT (#213356) #
I wonder if Wallace would have lasted as long as he did at third if he hadn't been drafted by the Cardinals, who obviously weren't going to move Pujols anywhere. I'm not sure the A's were even sold, and they definitely need a long-term solution at third - in 44 games in Sacramento, he only played 35 at third.
Minor League POTD - Brett Wallace | 37 comments | Create New Account
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