Good for Brett Wallace.
That’s probably the thought running through the minds of most Blue Jays fans as they look at the National League batting leaders this morning and see their former first-base prospect sitting third at .383 entering play Wednesday.
And if it’s not, it should be.
As you may recall, last July the 23-year-old Wallace was dealt to the Houston Astros in exchange for 19-year-old centre fielder Anthony Gose as part of the three-way deal that sent Roy Oswalt to Philadelphia.
The deal was somewhat of a head-scratcher since the Jays had an impending hole at first base and by all accounts, Wallace was major-league ready.
Here’s how Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos explained the trade at the time:
“This was a trade about Anthony Gose,” Anthopoulos said on a conference call last summer. “We’ve really liked this player quite a bit for quite some time, and knowing how difficult it is to get a premium position player like this with the defence and the speed, (those are) two things we do not have a lot of in this organization.”
A recent profile of Anthopoulos in Maclean’s magazine hinted at another possible reason he was so willing to gamble on the still very raw Gose.
Of the game’s top centre fielders, for example, the wall reveals that most were signed straight out of Grade 12. “Is this the Bible? No,” Anthopoulos told the magazine. “But maybe we need to take some chances on some high-school centre fielders to get where we want to go.”
To date, the Jays’ fan base and media has — for the most part — remained extremely patient and supportive of Anthopoulos’ moves as he restocks the farm system with as many high-ceiling prospects as possible.
And with Adam Lind enjoying a fine offensive season of his own at first base, Wallace’s absence hasn’t even been felt at the major-league level.
Meanwhile, the stats geeks over at fangraphs.com aren’t quite sold on Wallace yet.
“Wallace’s fast start does give some amount of hope — the hope for a productive player — but hopes of a future star and cleanup hitter (a new Lance Berkman, say) are misguided. But at least it’s better than nothing.”
But you wouldn’t know it if you read Richard Justice’s latest blog.
On Wednesday, the Houston Chronicle baseball reporter opined that with Wallace possibly heading to all-star status in 2011, “in Toronto, they’re crushing Blue Jays management for trading Wallace.”
We’d love to know who exactly Justice is referring to because, as mentioned above, there’s been little, if any, criticism of the deal from within the GTA.
Having said that, the speedy Gose is having a tough go of things at double-A New Hampshire, so far posting a line of .232/.291/.274/.565 with nine stolen bases through 23 games.
And Gose’s career minor-league line through parts of four seasons isn’t much sexier: .258/.323/.364/.688.
But at just 20 years old, the jury will remain out on Gose — and the trade — for years to come.
It’s something for Jays fans and foreign media to keep in mind — no matter what numbers Wallace puts up in 2011.
Elliott has seen enough
Despite the Wallace-for-Gose trade (wink, wink) Bob Elliott writes in the Toronto Sun that Anthopoulos is deserving of a contract extension.
As Elliott points out, J.P. Ricciardi received one 347 days into the job, while AA has now held the position for 577 days.
Apparently no-hitters call for extra post-game ice.