I am usually in pretty exact agreement with Nathaniel Stoltz in reference to prospect potential, but do take exception at his criticism of Brett Wallace and that of other similar doubters. Nathaniel recently included Brett on his hot shots list within his This Week in Prospects column on Call to the Pen, but had this to say about him:
"“I’m not a big Wallace fan. To be a great first baseman in this league, you have to have great plate discipline and power. It’s tough to be an elite-level hitter (like a first baseman should be) without having both of those skills. Last year, Wallace only walked 47 times and posted a .162 Isolated Power, far below those marks.”"
I would point Nathaniel to a story I wrote on just how dominant Brett Wallace has been and how dominant he will become while I was still off on my own at Blue Jays Daze. As for the Isolated Power numbers, I wouldn’t worry too much about it for a couple of reasons. First, as shown in my article above, Brett has been fairly young for every level he achieved, so he has had to deal with acclimatizing to each level. Second, so long as he’s getting on base at such a high rate and maintaining a high average, I’m positive the Jays will make do with “only” 26 doubles and 20+ HRs.
Listen, there’s a reason Baseball America’s staff had Brett ranked 27th overall in ALL prospect rankings and had his bat rated at 70 out of a possible 80 points. He has a ton of power and can match that power with a great average and OBP, something that is very rare to find in baseball. If you think for a second that he won’t be nailing the huge gaps in Toronto’s Rogers Centre for a ton of doubles, you’re mistaken. Brett uses the whole field, has power to all fields, and forces opposing pitchers to give him pitches to hit. Throw him into a lineup with Vernon Wells, Aaron Hill, and Adam Lind, and he’ll be more than able to find more pitches to hit than he’s seen with his offensively challenged minor league teams while with St-Louis and Oakland.
I’m an absolutely huge Brett Wallace fan and believe that he’ll be the best addition the Jays make to their lineup in 2010. He has the bat to bring their performance to a new level and should help form a formidable middle of the lineup. I’m not sure what he’ll have to do to prove the doubters wrong, but I’m positive that it won’t take long for many of these to become believers once he make it to The Show. They Jays have always believed in him, the majority of scouts and analysts believe he is an awesome bat – hence being involved in trades that include some of the biggest names in MLB – and the time is coming up for him to prove himself.
Between waiting to see Brett and JP Arencibia in Toronto, and Adeiny Hechavarria‘s debut in Dunedin, Jays fans have a lot to pay attention to these days. That’s always a sign of good….no, great things to come. Jays fans should disregard the doubters and look forward to Brett’s arrival, as it should make the Jays a whole lot better very quickly.