Among the trades the Red Sox made leading up to the trade deadline, Boston sent outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Rockies in exchange for a player to be named later. As we covered at the time, PTBNL’s this season were not really analogous to those in the past, as 2020’s rules dictated that only players on a club’s 60-man player pool could be officially dealt. As such, the players were known by both sides but could not be announced until either they were added to a 60-man player pool or the season concluded. The Red Sox have added the player they received from Colorado to their player pool. That player: Right-handed relief pitcher Jacob Wallace.
The #RedSox today acquired minor league RHP Jacob Wallace from the Colorado Rockies, completing the August 31 trade for outfielder Kevin Pillar.— Red Sox (@RedSox) September 18, 2020
The Red Sox’ Club Player Pool is at 60.
At first glance, this would seem to be a nice get for the Red Sox in exchange for Pillar. Wallace is a local kid who went to Methuen High School before heading to UConn for his college career. He is a pure reliever who was selected by the Rockies in the third round pick of the 2019 draft. The righty is in a similar mold as Durbin Feltman the year before in that he is, again, a pure reliever who was expected to move quickly through the minors. Obviously, the lack of minor-league ball in 2020 puts that movement into question, though he will get some looks in Red Sox camp at Pawtucket through the end of the year.
Wallace tossed 21 innings for the Rockie’s short-season club in the Northwest League last season, pitching to a 1.29 ERA with 29 strikeouts and nine walks. Now 22 years old — though this would be his age-21 season since his birthday is in August — Wallace is a prototypical reliever in today’s game. Listed at 6’1, 190 pounds, he comes at hitters with a big fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can get up a few ticks more if needed along with a sweeping slider. Per Baseball America, who ranked Wallace as Colorado’s 15th best prospect this year, Northwest League hitters swung and missed at the righty’s slider a whopping 60 percent of the time last summer. He has also reportedly been working to at a changeup to the mix since being drafted as well.
While the ceiling is limited by definition with someone who is a pure reliever, there is still some upside here with Wallace in that he has the stuff to be a legitimate late-inning arm. As we learned with Feltman, it’s not always as easy transitioning to the pros as we think, but the tools are certainly there. That Wallace is a local kid only makes rooting for his progression that much easier. Given the weirdness of this season I don’t really have a good feel for where they could send him to start 2021 (assuming there is minor-league baseball), but even if he starts lower in the system I’d expect him to be a fast riser as long as he performs.