With Berkman gone, Brett Wallace will make his MLB debut tonight

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Now that the Lance Berkman trade is officially official, the Astros are already turning the page, purchasing the contract of Brett Wallace from Triple-A Round Rock. The 23-year-old will make his major league debut against the Brewers tonight, batting sixth and playing first base.

Wallace was acquired from the Blue Jays in exchange for outfielder Anthony Gose on Thursday. He has now been traded three times since being selected in the first round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft by the Cardinals. Wallace has a .304/.375/.487 batting line over parts of three seasons in the minor leagues and was batting .301/.359/.509 with 18 homers and 61 RBI with Triple-A Las Vegas this season in the hitter-friendly PCL league.

Drafted as a third baseman, Wallace began to make the transition to first base last year. While he’s still a very good power prospect, he has yet to make much progress with his plate discipline, posting a 116/47 K/BB ratio in 532 at-bats in 2009 and an 83/27 K/BB ratio over 385 at-bats this season.

It will be tough to shake the inevitable comparisons of the man he is about to replace, but Wallace is no Berkman. He should still prove to be a pretty solid major league regular, though.

Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds

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As is offseason tradition, the first of player-shape reports are trickling in. These usually use some variation of the phrase “best shape of [my/his] life.” This one, though, avoids that at least.

According to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers, Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber has lost 17-20 pounds so far this offseason. Schwarber said that he’s “already big and strong,” so “might as well try to get more explosive, faster.”

Though Schwarber knocked out 30 home runs this past season, his numbers were otherwise pedestrian. He hit .211/.315/.467 with 59 RBI and 67 runs scored in 486 plate appearances.

There has been some speculation that the Cubs will try to trade Schwarber to an American League team where he can be a DH. He’s a subpar defender, so making him a full-time DH makes a lot of sense. So far, though, the only team that has been linked to Schwarber this offseason has been the Red Sox.