Three's Company: Wallach Family Runs Deep in Dodgers' Organization
Thirty years ago, Tim Wallach led the Cal State Fullerton Titans to the 1979 College World Series Championship. Tim’s efforts in the ’79 season earned him the coveted Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the nation’s best amateur player.
The Montreal Expos drafted Tim with the 10th pick in the ’79 draft. He went on to become a five-time All Star in the 80s. In 17 seasons, he accumulated 2,085 hits, 260 homeruns, and 1,125 RBI. Let's not forget he collected three Gold Glove awards for his play at third base.
Tim, finally, moved on from Montreal to Los Angeles in ’93 for three seasons, all of which he played under Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda.
In ’96, Wallach began a long trend of homecomings to the Dodgers. He started the campaign with the California Angels, returned to the Dodgers in late July to play out the final season of his career. Lasorda had departed the club as manager just a month earlier.
After his playing career concluded, Wallach managed the Angels’ Single-A affiliate in ’01. He returned, once again, to Los Angeles as the Hitting Coach in ’04 and ’05 under manager Jim Tracy.
On Jan. 12, 2009, Tim Wallach made his latest deal with the Dodgers organization. He was announced as the Albuquerque Isotope Skipper, the Dodgers’ Triple-A affiliate.
Almost six months, to the day, after Tim was named the Isotopes' Manager, the Los Angeles Dodgers selected his son, Brett Wallach, with the 96th pick of the Amateur Draft.
MLB Network invited Tim’s former manager, Lasorda, for the presentation of Dodgers’ picks on Tuesday night. Lasorda announced Brett’s selection at the podium in Studio 42.
“It was a special pick for me though, as I have known Brett, and his older brother Matt, since they were babies,” Lasorda commented on his blog.
Paving His Own Path
Thirty years after Tim Wallach’s national championship, his son Brett Wallach led Orange Coast College to the California State Junior College Title. Brett was the 2009 Empire Conference Player of the Year. The right-hander went 10-1, with a 2.26 ERA. He racked up 111 strike-outs in just 103 and two-thirds IP. He pitched six innings in the semifinals for a win, and came back the next day to earn the save in the championship game.
Tim must have taught the kid a few things at the plate, too. Brett also whacked a two-run triple in the 10-7 championship victory. That capped off a season where he was a mainstay in the OCC lineup, hitting .371 with four homeruns and 48 RBI.
Apparently, Brett was taking notes as an infant when he hung around Major League ballparks with his dad.
MLB.com calls him, “Polished and matured,” on the mound.
So what makes Brett so valuable on the mound? He displays a fastball between 88 and 90 miles per hour, and is expected to gain two or three more miles as he builds more body strength. His two-seam fastball is lively and runs in on the hands of righties. Brett also throws a sliding curve with late break that can be used as a two-strike pitch to finish hitters.
But what's his best pitch? Brett has a change-up that drops off the table.
“[The changeup has] remarkable drop while thrown at the same arm speed as his fastball,” Holmes said.
Although some scouts do have their doubts because of the level of competition he has faced this past season, Brett is being evaluated as the complete package as a professional.
Will He Stay in School?
The young Wallach is now facing a decision. Long Beach State offered him a scholarship based on his dominating performance this past season for OCC.
Before Aug. 15, Brett must decide between joining the Dodgers’ organization or pursuing a collegiate career and testing draft waters again in the future.
In an interview with the Orange County Register, Brett hints that maybe this is the right time to turn pro.
“I would have been happy playing anywhere, but to be honest, if I had to choose a team, it would have been them,” Brett said.
With the addition of Tim, and most likely Brett, to the Dodgers’ family in ’09, there are now three Wallach’s representing the Blue Crew. Matt, Brett’s older brother, plays for the Dodgers’ Single-A affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons.
If the way Matt waited for the Dodgers’ to come calling is any indication, fans can expect to see Brett sign before the year closes.
Matt was drafted in the 23rd round of the ’05 draft by the Yankees, but chose not to sign with New York. He waited until ’07, when the Dodgers took him in the 22nd round as a 21-year-old catcher-first baseman.
A Positive Future
Brett, if he signs, would most likely go play Rookie Ball in Ogden, where his brother Matt spent two seasons.
Tot Holmes from Scout.com says that Brett has “a near perfect frame for a pitcher” and is “very projectable” as a professional. Brett should be more than encouraged by the recent success of minor league talent development within the Dodgers’ organization.
In recent years, the Dodgers have had success drafting and developing young talents like Chad Billingsley, Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Blake DeWitt.
All are 25 or younger and saw a quick rise to the big league level. With the exception of DeWitt, the rest are now regulars and important contributors for the Boys in Blue this season.
“I just hope that one day Matt and Brett get their mail at Dodger Stadium like their father did,” Lasorda said on the future of the young Wallach brothers in the Los Angeles organization.
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