That's the simple phrase Astros GM Ed Wade has used to describe Brett Wallace. Young players come without guarantees, so there's no way of knowing how good he'll be, or even if he'll make it in the major leagues. There's likely to be plenty of ups and downs.
Still, Wallace is the most interesting everyday player in this spring training for the Astros. He's just 24 years old, but has already had an interesting 2 1/2 years in professional baseball.
Since the Cardinals made him the 13th pick of the 2008 draft, Wallace has been involved in trades for Matt Holliday, Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt. Now he's no longer the currency to bring veteran talent to a club. He's exactly what the Astros have been seeking.
First, he has to win the first base job. He'll be given every opportunity, but he won't be given the job. He has hit at every level. In three minor league seasons, he has a .304 batting average, including a .299 mark at AAA. He was a two-time Pac 10 Triple Crown winner at Arizona State.
There are lingering questions about his power, strikeouts and walks, but there's no reason to think he won't succeed. At this point, he has nothing left to prove in the minor leagues, so the Astros are hoping to run him out there and let him figure things out.
He was hitting just .196 in his first 35 games after replacing Lance Berkman at first. He hit .277 in his last 16, but he had just 3 walks and 17 strikeouts, so there was plenty to work on.
He'll be one of new hitting coach Mike Barnett's most important spring projects. If Jason Castro and Wallace can hit, the Astros will be well on their way back to respectability. If not, well, that would just be real sad, and I don't choose to think that way.