|Moments after sending longtime ace Roy Oswalt to the Phillies for a package of young players, the Astros flipped one of them, outfielder Anthony Gose, to the Blue Jays for first baseman Brett Wallace.
Wallace’s arrival appears to signal the beginning of the end of the Lance Berkman era in Houston. The 23-year-old Wallace should be ready to step into Houston’s lineup whenever he’s called. Berkman, one of the last holdovers from the Astros’ 2005 NL pennant winners, will be a free agent after the season unless Houston picks up his $15 million club option.
|Brett Wallace, 1b
Age: 23. Position: 1B (76 G).
Born: Aug. 26, 1986 in Sonoma, Calif.
Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 205. Bats: L. Throws: R.
School: Arizona State.
Career Transactions: Selected by Cardinals in first round (13th overall) of 2008 draft; signed July 1, 2008 … Traded by Cardinals with RHP Clay Mortensen and OF Shane Peterson to Athletics for OF Matt Holliday, July 24, 2009 … Traded by Athletics to Blue Jays for OF Michael Taylor, Dec. 16, 2009.
One of these days, Wallace might actually get to settle down in one city. For now though, the 2008 first-round pick is on the move again, getting dealt for the third time in barely over a calendar year. Twice he’s been traded as part of secondary deals after a high-profile big league pitcher was moved—Roy Halladay last December and Roy Oswalt now. Wallace gives the Astros a nearly big league-ready hitter. He has outstanding hand-eye coordination and his inside-out stroke lets him drive balls to all fields. He doesn’t have tremendous raw power, but he’s got a strong lower half and his feel for the zone gets him in hitter’s counts where he can do damage. A third baseman coming out of college, most observers were skeptical Wallace could stay there due to his lack of athleticism, and he did indeed move across the diamond to first base this year.
|Blue Jays Acquire|
|Anthony Gose, cf
Age: 19. Position: CF (103 G).
Born: Aug. 10, 1990 in Paramount, Calif.
Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. Bats: L. Throws: L.
School: Bellflower (Calif.) HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Phillies in second round of 2008 draft; signed June 8, 2008 … Traded by Phillies with LHP J.A. Happ and SS Jonathan Villar to Astros for RHP Roy Oswalt, July 29, 2010.
Gose led all minor leaguers with 76 stolen bases in 2009, when he batted .259/.323/.353 for low Class A Lakewood. While he remains an unfinished product with the bat, his speed, center-field defense and arm all draw raves from scouts—and even a few 70s on the scouting scale. His tools are apparent in his standing in the Florida State League. Gose ranks second in the circuit with 36 steals (one behind Jupiter’s Kevin Mattison) and 15 outfield assists, while pacing all FSL batters with 67 runs scored and 11 triples. He employs a slashing hitting style that lends itself to below-average power, though he will occasionally sting one the other way. Gose’s pitch recognition needs signficant refinement if he’s to profile as a true on-base-oriented leadoff batter, and the Blue Jays (and before them the Phillies) are betting that it will, given his athleticism and baseball acumen.