One of the best pure power hitters in the 2022 MLB Draft class, Cayden Wallace led Arkansas to the College World Series this season. After going undrafted out of high school in 2020, the 20-year-old made an immediate impact upon joining the Razorbacks on the diamond. He had a strong summer in the Cape Cod League and carried that momentum into his sophomore season. Wallace could hear his name called in the first round, let’s find out why.
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Cayden Wallace, 3B, Arkansas
Weight: 205 lbs.
2021: 60 G, .279/.369/.500, 14 HR, 44 RBI, 52 R, 61 K, 29 BB
2022: 67 G, .298/.387/.553, 16 HR, 60 RBI, 62 R, 56 K, 38 BB
Wallace comes from an athletic family, with his brother Paxton playing baseball at Wichita State and signing with the Los Angeles Angels, and his father Mike playing football at Central Arkansas. His 14 homers in 2021 tied a freshman program record, a record held by former first-round picks Zack Cox and Heston Kjerstad. He made the Freshman All-SEC Team with his performance, as well as being voted to the Baseball America Freshman All-American Second Team. In the Cape Cod League last summer, Wallace slashed .290/.352/.468 with two homers, 14 RBI, and 12 runs.
Wallace has impressive bat speed, strength, and a compact swing from the right side which leads to some of the best power in this class. His power was showcased plenty during the end of the Arkansas season. He smashed six homers over his last nine games. The Little Rock, Arkansas native has also improved his overall game in college. He is now a solid runner on the basepaths and has a plus to plus-plus arm in the field. Wallace primarily played right field in his freshman year before moving to third base his sophomore year and should be at least an average defender at the hot corner in the pros. Some evaluators believe he will move back to right field once he is drafted.
While he has a high power ceiling, Wallace needs to work on his consistency at the dish and staying back on breaking pitches on the outer half. Most of his power comes from the pull side and it would benefit his bat profile to go more the other way. As the quality of pitchers gets tougher, Wallace will need to have a more complete approach and not fully rely on hitting for power. He was able to lower his strikeout rate from 22 percent in 2021 to 17 percent this year, and his walk rate also went up by one percent.
Pro Comparison: Alec Bohm
Like Wallace, Bohm was also a pull-heavy third baseman with a high power ceiling going into the 2018 MLB Draft. Wallace has the Philadelphia Phillies’ third baseman beat in arm strength, third base defense, and speed, but they have similar approaches at the plate. Bohm has yet to fully tap into his power in the majors, but he mashed 21 homers in the minor leagues in 2019. He was drafted third overall by the Phillies in the 2018 draft.
Draft Projection: Early Second Round
In my first mock draft back in May, I projected Wallace to the Seattle Mariners at pick number 21. But with the swing-and-miss concerns, it is likely he falls to the second round. There are plenty of high-ceiling hitters in this year’s class with fewer concerns than Wallace. Nonetheless, teams looking for a high-power potential third baseman will be all over him in the second round.
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images