Chad Wallach continued a family lineage in his brief time with the Dodgers in 2021, and proved emblematic of the desire for catching depth.
In many ways the Dodgers have been incredibly lucky the past two years, in that Will Smith and Austin Barnes have started 220 of 222 games behind the plate and caught 98.9 percent of the innings in 2020-21. Keibert Ruiz was the only other catcher to see time in the majors in the last two years, starting twice and totaling 22 innings. But when he was traded to the Nationals on July 30, the Dodgers’ upper-level catching depth was lacking.
The Dodgers claimed Wallach off waivers from the Marlins on the same day Ruiz was part of the four-for-two trade that brought Max Scherzer and Trea Turner to Los Angeles. This is what I wrote at the time:
After Ruiz was dealt, the two catchers in Triple-A are Hamlet Marte, a 27-year-old just 9-for-47 (.191/.296/.298) with Oklahoma City, and 21-year-old Juan Zabala, who played in one game in Triple-A this season. Tim Federowicz, the 33-year-old veteran, is currently with Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Wallach is the son of Tim Wallach, the longtime major league third baseman who played four seasons for Los Angeles, and later coached and managed in the majors and minors for 11 seasons with the Dodgers, through 2015. All three of Wallach’s sons were drafted by the Dodgers. Matt (drafted in 2007) was a catcher, and Brett (2009) was a pitcher. Chad was drafted out of high school in 2010 but did not sign with the Dodgers, opting for Cal State Fullerton instead.
Chad Wallach was drafted again in 2013, this time by the Marlins, who traded him the next year along with Anthony DeSclafani to the Reds for future old friend Mat Latos. Wallach reached the majors with Cincinnati in 2017, but then went back to Miami on a waiver claim, and played in parts of each of the last four seasons in the majors with the Marlins.
Wallach did not play in the majors with the Dodgers, nor was he in the organization long. He played just once for Triple-A Oklahoma City, and was claimed off waivers by the Angels on August 7, ending his time with the Dodgers after eight days.
Wallach finished out the season in Triple-A for the Angels, playing 39 games for Salt Lake, though only 15 were behind the plate. He also played 23 games at designated hitter and once at first base. Across Triple-A with Jacksonville (Marlins affiliate), Oklahoma City, and Salt Lake, Wallach hit .213/.341/.425 with 15 home runs and a 14.4-percent walk rate in 71 games.
Stats: .200/.242/.267, 41 wRC+, 23 G (with Marlins), -0.8 bWAR, -0.3 fWAR
Game of the year
Wallach was 0-for-3 in his only game with Oklahoma City, on August 6 at Albuquerque. But he did walk and score in the fifth inning, one of only two runs scored by OKC in the game.
Wallach is with the Angels, and was sent outright off the 40-man roster on November 19.