Matt Wallach - Dodgers Prospect #37

As the son of a five time All-Star, one who has won three gold gloves and a pair of silver slugger bats, you might think you would get special privileges that other players were not afforded. But that just isn't so.

Matt Wallach's father, Tim Wallach, played for 17 seasons in the major leagues, three of them with the Dodgers, but playing for his fathers alma matre, Cal State Fullerton, Tim spent most of the 2006 season sitting on the bench for the first third of this season. The same last name as one of the school's most famous alumnus won't help you out of a slump.

Started the season battling as the designated hitter, his average slid to .158 and he mostly watched from then on from the sidelines. Then starting first baseman broke a wrist and and Wallach was pressed into action as a first baseman.

What Wallach did know, from countless time around ballparks with his dad, is what what it would take to keep a spot in the starting lineup. He stayed after practice and worked on his swing in the batting cages. He worked on his fielding techniques and kept a positive attitude.

In the 10 games he has started, Wallach has batted .361 (13-for-36) with two home runs and 10 RBIs.

He became one of the team's most reliable clutch hitters, with a game-tying home run and winning hit against Northridge and a winning hit and five RBIs against UC Irvine.

He had come to Cal State after two years at Cypress College where he had hit .301 in 49 games for the Chargers and was named a Community College Southern California All-American -- as a catcher.

"He received an opportunity in a weird way, but it's a tribute to his work ethic the way he is played," Coach George Horton said.

He was drafted after two years of Junior College by the Yankees in the 23rd round but had turned them down to go to college where his dad had won the Silver Spikes Award. He had hit .346 as a junior and .356 as a senior.

When the Dodgers came calling in 2007, he signed in the 22nd round and was sent to Ogden. When he arrived to be fitted with a Raptors uniform after the College World Series was a scene from an old Mark brothers movie.

Kenley Jansen had been sent down from Great Lakes, the extended spring camp had supplied Esteban Lopez and Ivan Nacarrata, local resident Tysen "Tag" PoVey was signed as a free agent and Jessie Mier and Alex Garabedian were signed out of the draft and on hand.

With catchers everywhere you looked, there wasn't much room for anyone on a steady basis but Wallach could handle that. Over the final couple months he was the designated hitter and first baseman, catching on only five games.

Despite moving about, he managed to hit .297 and post a .393 on base percentage.

When 2008 rolled around, he found himself, not surprisingly, back on Ogden but this time he was behind the plate in 44 games -- well, he also played shortstop, third base and served as a designated hitter. Anything to get into the game.

The team was stuffed with top 10 draftees from the 2008 amateur draft: six of them to be exact, but he held his own at the plate, whacking 17 doubles, 10 homers and knocking in 36 runs. Over the final 10 games of the season he hit .316 and knocked in 10 runs.

He banged out a .323 average against lefthanders, hit .333 on the road and hit .313 with runners in scoring position.

Wallach played himself into a position as one of the leading Dodgers catching prospects and will probably open the 2009 season at Inland Empire.

Matt Wallach

year	team	 ave   obp   ops  gm   ab   r   h  2b 3b  hr  bi
2007  	Ogden  .297  .393  .858  32  101  11  30   6  1   3  13
2008	Ogden  .283  .356  .927  51  184  36  52  17  3  10  36

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