Last year across the majors and minors Brett Wallace hit 25 home runs. This year between the majors and minors he has hit 15. His ISO at triple-A was .227 and at the MLB level it’s at .235. The issue, as it always has been, is the enormous amount of strikeouts. He has struck out in 37.9% of his 87 plate appearances this season but he still has been able to amass a 99 wRC+ — despite a .222 average and .276 on base percentage.
I had faith in Wallace entering the year given his performance last season between triple-A and the majors. His 103 wRC+ was obviously not world beating, but it did seem like he was starting to get things together in the 66 games the Astros gave him in the majors. He also had a 7% walk rate and a strikeout rate under 30%, which doesn’t sound amazing but given his history it pointed to improvements. In a crazy deep dynasty league I have Wallace starting in my utility spot, but he obviously does not deserve to be owned as a first base option in standard formats.
One thing to note is that Wallace has now started four games at third base and should earn eligibility at the position soon. That makes him a bit more valuable than he currently is. Even though he should be crushing triple-A pitching since it is his fourth go around (at least 28 games played) at the level, the 149 wRC+ is promising that he can continue to hit at around a league average to slightly better rate. If that is something that you can find value in, specifically in the power department, then you may have found yourself a cheap source of value during the midsummer months.
At the very worst, we should see Wallace get a real shot at earning a spot on a bad team for the rest of the season. It seemed short sighted to me when they called him down so early in the season, but the Astros realize they have nothing to lose by finding out what they really have in Wallace. In a fantasy sense, those who are struggling in the corner infield spots in deeper or AL only leagues may be willing to do the same. In standard leagues he is not someone to invest in unless you are in serious trouble, but he is someone to at least keep an eye on. He is still talented and will add another position to his eligibility, so keep Wallace on your radar when considering adding at those two positions.
Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.