Matt Wallach in full gear during the Dodgers 2012 Winter Development Program
Matt Wallach is a lucky minor leaguer. He grew up with a father in the major leagues, and now is in the same organization as his dad. I wrote about this in detail during my 2012 minor league countdown when I ranked Wallach as the 78th best prospect in the Dodger minor league system:
"When your dad is the 3rd base coach of the big league club, you are going to get a little more leniency than most players. Such is the case for Matt Wallach who has had a mediocre minor league career, yet continues to get the opportunities that are usually reserved for the organization’s top prospects. You see Wallach has been invited to three straight Winter Development Programs, and thus has received more elite coaching than most minor league players receive during their entire minor league career. This was especially evident during this past January’s Winter Development Program when Tommy Lasorda specially asked for Wallach to get some additional batting practice after all the other players were done for the day."
While I'm not a big fan of Wallach as a prospect, he does have some value to the Dodgers. As I wrote in my prospect ranking,
"Wallach does have some potential as a Dodger prospect after a breakout season for the Dodgers in 2010 where he hit 11 homers and had a .773 OPS. While his stats came back down to earth in 2011, the fact that Matt has the potential for double digit homers while displaying plus defense gives him the potential to at least be a backup catcher at the big league level."
Wallach saw his first spring training action of 2012 yesterday and flew out in his only at bat, but he figures to get a decent amount of playing time over the next few weeks. Also notable about his appearance yesterday was the fact that he played first base, although that was really just to get him some playing time because there is no way his bat plays there. At the end of the day Wallach should gain some great experience this spring by catching major league pitchers and getting some additional big league coaching.
Matt was Tim Wallach's first son to be drafted by the Dodgers, but he was certainly not the last. Two years after Matt was selected in the 22nd round of the 2007 draft, LA selected his brother Brett in 2009 in the 3rd round. The next season Matt's other brother Chad was picked in the 43rd round of out high school, but the Dodgers failed to sign him as he honored his commitment to Cal State Fullerton (his dad's alma mater). Brett also moved on as he was sent to the Cubs in the trade for Ted Lilly, so Matt is the only member of the Wallach family to remain in the Dodgers organization besides his dad.
Wallach is not yet on the 40-man roster, but was invited to big league camp in spring training as a non-roster invitee.
Previous Dodgers Player Profiles:
|2010 (A - Rancho Cucamonga)
|2010 (AA - Chattanooga)
|2011 (AA - Chattanooga)
Matt Wallach has almost no chance of making the big league club in 2012 given the Dodgers depth at catcher in the upper minor leagues. In reality there are really only two reasons that he was invited to big league camp; (1) the team can always use warm bodies to catch the plethora of pitchers early in spring training, and (2) Matt's dad is obviously the Dodgers 3rd base coach. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Wallach made it up to the big leagues at some point in his career. As mentioned above he seems to get gets more chances than your average minor leaguer, so I think he’ll spend at least some time in the show (probably in 2013 or 2014). What is your guess for Wallach in 2012? Even if he doesn't make it to the big leagues in 2012, do you think he'll ever make it to the show?