We often forget the prospect that fails for the next tantalizing kid to come along. This is even more true when the prospect gets traded. John Mozeliak and company deserve huge kudos for selling high on Brett Wallace and this interesting tidbit from Keith Law helps explain way.
The way Wallace’s rise to the majors has stalled out has been a hot topic among scouts this winter, since at the time he was drafted the debate was over whether he could play any position well enough to keep him off DH, not whether he’d hit. But the new consensus is that Wallace can’t cover the inner half because he doesn’t fully rotate his back side through his swing, ceding the inside part of the plate to the pitcher, and that it’s not fixable.
I can’t claim to have identified this problem when I expressed my distrust for Wallace’s top prospect status. My concerns were almost explicitly on his terrible physique and inability to catch a baseball.
It’s interesting to me that this problem with his hitting is being identified now because 1) it’s probably some of the same scouts evaluating him now as in 2008 2) hitting was never considered the problem and 3) it’s a supposedly mortal problem in terms of hitting. When a top prospect is traded as many times as Wallace was in such a short time span it’s usually an indication that they’re either very good or very damaged or both.
The point being that even if Brett Wallace were to right the ship and turn into an above average player, the Cardinals made a trade when his value was near it’s peak. They deserve credit for that.