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Boston Red Sox trade for former UConn reliever Jacob Wallace

UConn’s stone-cold closer will play closer to home for the remainder of the 2020 season and beyond.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The Boston Red Sox completed a trade for former UConn reliever Jacob Wallace on Friday, part of the deal that sent outfielder Kevin Pillar to the Colorado Rockies, the team announced.

Wallace ranked as the Rockies’ No. 20 prospect after a very successful minor league season in 2019 with the Class A Boise Hawks, posting a 1.29 ERA and holding opponents to a .129 batting average against.

That came after an electric career as Jim Penders’ closer, where he posted a 2.77 ERA through 97.1 innings pitched, allowing just 70 hits and 42 walks to 143 (!) strikeouts.

This culminated in an incredible 2019 season: His 0.46 ERA through 42.0 innings is the fifth-lowest in school history, he was named first-team All American by a laundry-list of publications and delivered one of the most incredible individual pitching performances in school history.

He announced himself to the nation early on, with a stunning performance against a Louisville team that would go on to make the College World Series, entering with the bases loaded and no outs in the ninth inning, retiring the first player on three strikes and sitting the next two down in order. striking out seven in a row against a ninth-ranked Oklahoma State team to win the first game of the 2019 Regional Final.

Wallace was this close to getting the chance to play for his hometown team on draft night — he was recommended highly to the Red Sox brass by a number of the program’s top scouts this spring — but was snatched up by the Rockies in the third round of the 2019 MLB Draft.

“I remember vividly telling him [before the draft], ‘I hope you pitch in the big leagues, and I hope it’s for us,’” Ray Fagnant, one of the Red Sox top scouts, told the Boston Globe.

Wallace will likely move quickly through the Red Sox farm system, which lacks pitching depth.