Brett Wallace of the Houston Astros reacts after striking out with the bases loaded to end the first inning against the New York Mets on August 27, 2010. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Morning Notes, Thursday, February 17, 2011
**I'm back from my quick trip to visit my family in Iowa. Here are a few thoughts while I get caught up on my reading and research.
**I asked an Either/Or question about Domonic Brown and Mike Trout a few days ago. The poll results were surprising to me: 75% for Trout, 25% for Brown, out of (so far) 1256 votes). Although I expected Trout to win the poll, I thought it would be closer than that. I asked the question because on my Top 50 Hitters list in the book this year, I had Brown at Number Two and Trout at Number Four, but as I've thought about it over the last couple of weeks, I wasn't sure that was right.
I'm still not, but I'm not sure the poll and the community consensus is right, either. Everyone is excited about Trout and he's getting a lot of well-deserved hype, but Brown hit .327/.391/.589 last year between Double-A and Triple-A,, with 17 steals in 24 attempts. There is some apples/oranges going on here, given that Brown is three full years older than Trout and has more experience.
Trout turned out to be a more polished player than scouts expected coming out of high school, while Brown was extremely raw when he first got into pro ball and has had to work much harder to develop his baseball skills. They are in substantially different phases of their careers, which makes exact comparisons difficult both sabermetrically and traditionally.
**Ray posted a question yesterday about Matt LaPorta and Brett Wallace. Again, these two guys are in different phases of their careers. Both have been disappointing in their own way, but we have 162 games and 557 at-bats of data for LaPorta, and just 51 games and 144 at-bats for Wallace. There are all kinds of stories/rumors floating around out there about how disappointing Wallace has been, with scouts picking apart his swing mechanics and many predicting that he'll never pan out at all.
He's clearly got some plate discipline issues to work out, too. I am no expert on swing mechanics, but while it is apparent to me that expectations for Wallace were too high, I just can't get behind writing a hitter off after 51 games and 144 at-bats. Sociologically and psychologically speaking, people tend to over-correct in cases like this. Everyone was too high on him, now people are swinging back in the opposite direction too strongly given the evidence we have. Serious swing flaws or not, it is way too soon to say that he can't or won't fix them.