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Astros demote Brett Wallace and Chris Johnson to Triple-A

Aug 1, 2011, 11:51 AM EDT

Chris Johnson, Brett Wallace

As if trading away Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn wasn’t enough of a roster shakeup, the Astros also decided to demote first baseman Brett Wallace and third baseman Chris Johnson to Triple-A last night.

They started 91 and 86 of Houston’s first 108 games, but Johnson has struggled all season with a ghastly .286 on-base percentage and .659 OPS and Wallace convinced the Astros he needed more time in the minors by going just 12-for-66 (.182) in July.

Of course, with Pence and Bourn gone Wallace’s overall .720 OPS ranks second on the team behind only Carlos Lee, which isn’t bad from a 24-year-old rookie and makes the demotion based on 66 at-bats an odd one. Even stranger is that Wallace was replaced on the roster by 22-year-old Jimmy Paredes, who was acquired from the Yankees in last year’s Lance Berkman deal and had nearly the same OPS at Double-A (.726) that Wallace did in the majors (.720).

Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle notes that only two of the eight position players in the Opening Day lineup remain starters and apparently the Astros don’t have any patience for 24-year-old rookies with decent overall numbers even when they’re in the midst of a full-scale rebuild and have MLB’s worst record.

  1. hcf95688 - Aug 1, 2011 at 11:59 AM

    The Astros are trying to cement that top pick next June.

    • natstowngreg - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      They don’t have to try very hard. As of this morning, they’re 8 games ahead of the Cubs for the #1 pick, 8.5 games ahead of the Orioles.

  2. jjschiller - Aug 1, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Screwing with arbitration clocks?

  3. hk62 - Aug 1, 2011 at 1:58 PM

    I’m a die-hard Astros fan (feel my pain?) – the reason this happened and happened now – First Johnson should have gone down about 8 weeks ago – something is seriously messed up there, head / mechanics? I don’t know – but he’s just not been the CJ we know. The reason he wasn’t? The best 3B’s in the system were below AA (Hi-A and Lo-A to be specific) – Paredes has been playing 3B since Altuve (now up) went AA – not a lot of time but a very athletic player – so there is a tiny bit of hope and M Downs can play 3B (just can’t hit when he starts).

    Wallace – folks, he’s a MLB first baseman – which means ‘run producer’ – his BA or slash line is not what’s getting him more time at AAA – look at his splits, specifically with RISP and then ask the silly question as to why he’s going to OKC for a few weeks (4 likely).

  4. aaronmoreno - Aug 1, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Actually, a .720 OPS does seem pretty bad for a 1B who plays in Houston, whether or not he’s 24 year old rookie.

  5. Gary - Aug 1, 2011 at 3:20 PM

    It’s not 66 at bats. Since May 1 Wallace is hitting .224 (.303 OBP, .319 SLG).

  6. shawnuel - Aug 1, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    I think that Houston is more concerned with The Mariners. With their historically bad July and the fact they just traded 2/5ths of their rotation, they could easily rush past the Astros level of Suckitude unless the ‘stros did something drastic.

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