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.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.