On Tuesday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they have signed their first round selection, 13th overall, in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, third baseman Brett Wallace. The contract signing occurred at Busch Stadium, where Wallace will take some cuts during Cardinals batting practice. He will report to the Midwest League’s Quad Cities River Bandits on Wednesday.
Wallace is the ninth first-round selection from the 2008 draft to sign a contract and the 41st from the Cardinals’ class of 51 players taken this June 5th and 6th. According to the AP, Wallace signed for a bonus of approximately $1.84 million.
Due to their long run of success on the field, the Cardinals organization had not made their initial selection that early in the draft since 2000. This time around, they selected arguably the most polished college hitter available. The Napa, California native led his Arizona State University club to the 2008 NCAA Super Regionals, where they fell to Fresno State.
Wallace, 21, was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year for the second consecutive season in his junior year with the Devils, becoming just the fifth player in conference history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Wallace captured the Pac-10 Triple Crown each of the last two years. Not only did he lead the conference in batting average (.414), home runs (21) and RBIs (81), but Wallace was tops in three other categories, too: hits (94), runs (83) and total bases (173). As a sophomore last season, he posted a .404 batting average with 16 home runs and 78 RBI. Wallace became just the second player in school history to hit over .400 twice in a career.
“We are very happy to have Brett under contract and are anxious to see him start playing for our Quad Cities club,” said Cardinals Vice President of Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow. “He has a high ceiling and will be an exciting player for us and Cardinals fans to follow as he begins his professional career.”
After having been a semi-finalist in 2007, Wallace is one of five finalists for the 2008 Golden Spikes Award, designating the nation’s best amateur baseball player. This year’s winner will be announced on July 16 following Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week festivities in New York City.
Now with his signing, Wallace will not be available to potentially receive the award in the Big Apple as he will be toiling on a minor league field in his initial assignment as a professional baseball player for the Cardinals.
On the left side of the River Bandits' infield, Wallace will be joining the Cardinals' first-rounder from the 2007 draft, taken 18th overall, shortstop Pete Kozma.
As a special bonus, thanks to the generosity of reader John Surget, following are a dozen photos of Wallace in action.
Approaching the box.
Ready at the plate.
Time to unload.
Full extension achieved.
A well-practiced home run trot.
Taking his lead.
Readying to play defense.
Preparing for the pitch.
Looking the ball into the glove.
Throwing to first.
Covering the bag.
Heading to the dugout.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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