Brett Wallace fell short of reaching the College World Series this year, but the former Arizona State standout will now try to get a Double-A Texas League team to the playoffs.
The Cardinals promoted their 2008 first-round pick to Springfield on Tuesday, sling-shotting the third baseman from the low Class A Midwest League and entirely leapfrogging high Class A Palm Beach.
Springfield’s third baseman and best hitter, Allen Craig, is suffering from a back strain, according to the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. Craig is batting .301/.371/.489 with 21 home runs, 28 doubles and 81 RBIs.
A lefthanded batter, Wallace was hitting .327/.418/.490 for Quad Cities. In 153 at-bats, he had five home runs, eight doubles, a triple and 25 RBIs. He also struck out 32 times and drew 18 walks.
His promotion comes two months after eventual national champion Fresno State eliminated Arizona State in an NCAA Super Regional, ending Wallace’s stellar collegiate career.
He had ransacked the Pacific-10 Conference, winning conference Player of the Year honors the past two seasons. He also won its triple crown this past spring when he hit .410/.526/.753 with 22 home runs and 83 RBIs.
He signed for $1.84 million as the 13th overall pick, joining an organization that has aggressively promoted prospects since Jeff Luhnow was named farm director in September 2006.
Springfield this year has seen highly regarded prospects in catcher Bryan Anderson, lefthander Jaime Garcia, righthanders Clayton Mortensen and Jess Todd along with center fielder Jon Jay spend time in the Texas League before receiving promotions to Triple-A Memphis.
And Wallace, who turns 22 on Aug. 26, will find himself in the thick of a pennant race.
Springfield is tied with Northwest Arkansas atop the Texas League North Division with two weeks left before the playoffs, having already erased a five-game deficit.
The Quad City River Bandits announced Tuesday’s move.