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Chad Wallach joined the Cincinnati Reds organization over the offseason in a trade for Mat Latos that also brought back the Reds starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. Cincinnati sent the catcher to their new affiliate, the Daytona Tortugas.
The first three days of the season went quite well for Chad Wallach, going 5-12 while playing catcher, first base and designated hitter along the way. The next three games were more of a struggle though as he would go 1-11 with a double. That late slump carried over into the following week as Wallach went 4-19 (.211), but he did walk three times and homer. The final week of April was a nice way to finish the month as the catcher hit .304/.360/.609 thanks to five extra-base hits and two walks. He finished up the month with a .262/.310/.446 line with eight extra-base hits, five walks and 15 strikeouts in 71 plate appearances.
May got out to a slow start for Wallach as he went 1-12 over the first three games, but picked things up over the final four games of the week by going 5-15. While he would have hits in four of his five games in the second week, he went just 4-20 (.200) without a walk. The struggles would continue into the third week as Wallach went 4-24 (.167) with four walks. In the final nine games of the month he picked things up, going 9-33 (.273) with five walks and a home run. The late surge helped out some, but he still posted a .221/.299/.298 line with 10 walks and 20 strikeouts in 118 plate appearances as he continued to split time behind the plate with Joe Hudson and at first base.
June began much like May did with Wallach struggling in the first week, going 3-17 (.176). In the second week he would play just three games, but the slump continued as he went 1-9 with a walk. He would return to the lineup on the 15th, going 1-4 with a double, but then missed the next week. In the final week of June he would go 4-17 with two walks as he finished the month with a .191/.296/.213 line with five walks and 13 strikeouts in 14 games.
An injury kept him out of the lineup until July 6th when he returned against Tampa. The first week back was a bit of a struggle as he’d go 5-21 (.238). The next week went better despite going hitless in three games as he went 5-17 (.294) with two doubles and a walk. That carried forward to the final eight games of the month where Wallach went 10-27 (.370) with four doubles and two walks. In 73 plate appearances in July the catcher hit .308/.370/.415 with seven doubles and five walks.
August got out to a solid start as the former Cal State Fullerton catcher hit .250/.333/.438 in the first week that included three doubles. That carried forward for the first five games of the following week where Wallach would go 7-20 with three more doubles, but he’d go 0-8 in the final two games to hit .250 for the second consecutive week. In the third week of August he played in five games, going 5-14 (.357) with five walks and a double. Over the final five games of the month the catcher would go 4-16 (.250) with two more doubles and three walks. The final week of the season didn’t go well, as Wallach would go 0-for in four of the five games he played, but went 2-4 with two doubles in the game he did get hits in. Over the final five weeks of the season he would post a .247/.356/.371 line with 14 walks and 17 strikeouts in 104 plate appearances.
After the season was complete he was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he played sparingly for the Peoria Javelinas. In his nine games played he struggled at the plate, hitting .133/.212/.167 with a walk and seven strikeouts.
While the triple-slash line of .246/.327/.351 looks bad on the surface, his .678 OPS was actually better than the league average in the very pitcher friendly Florida State League where the league managed just a .651 OPS on the season.
Chad Wallach Scouting Report
Hitting | The catcher can use the entire field and has solid gap-to-gap power to keep the defenses honest. He projects to be a below-average to fringe-average hitter.
Power | He’s got more gap power than home run power with a possibility for 10 home runs in the future.
Running | As a catcher he’s not expected to have much speed and he certainly doesn’t as a below-average runner.
Arm | He’s got fringe-average arm strength behind the plate. He can put up some average pop times every now and again, but will hover a tad below-average at times as well.
Defense | Wallach calls a solid game and is good at blocking balls in the dirt. He’s still struggling at times with the finer parts of receiving and will need to continue to improve there. He doesn’t control the running game well.
Chad Wallach made the move to catcher in the middle of his college career and is still in need of plenty of reps behind the plate to catch up to his counterparts of the same age who have more experience. He’s got all of the tools to remain behind the plate, but the skills still need refining. At the plate his bat is only going to play at the catcher position among the spots he can handle defensively as the power won’t be enough at either of the corner infield spots. Some scouts noted that he may have trouble with his conditioning in the future without plenty of work, which could come into play for him defensively down the road.
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