In his latest 2022 mock draft for Baseball America, Carlos Collazo has the Red Sox taking University of Arkansas infielder Cayden Wallace with their second-round pick at No. 41 overall.
The Red Sox were awarded with the 41st overall pick in this year’s draft after failing to sign University of Florida outfielder Jud Fabian last summer. It comes with an attached slot value of $1,905,500, which accounts for roughly 24% of Boston’s bonus pool.
As for the player himself, Wallace is currently regarded by Baseball America as the 54th-ranked prospect in this year’s draft class. The 20-year-old hits from the right side of the plate and just put the finishing touches on a sophomore season in which be batted .298/.387/.553 with 20 doubles, one triple, 16 home runs, 60 RBIs, 62 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 38 walks and 56 strikeouts over 67 games (323 plate appearances) for the Razorbacks.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, Wallace exclusively played third base this season. The Greenbrier, Ark. native does have past experience elsewhere, however, as he played left and right field as a freshman and for the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod Baseball League last summer.
Per his Baseball America scouting report, Wallace “has one of the best infield arms in college baseball. He doesn’t need to set his feet to get something on his throws, which makes him a wiz at charging into bare-hand bunts. When he does set his feet, his throws seem rocket powered. He is comfortable leaving his feet, knowing he has the arm to pop up and make the play. In addition to having a plus-plus arm and above-average defense at third, Wallace is a heady baserunner” with average speed.
“Wallace has above-average bat speed and has shown he can catch up to velocity. He has an average bat with average power,” it continues. ” He likes to drop the bat head to pull the ball, but he also has shown he can drive the ball to right-center. He can be busted up and in on his hands.”
Wallace, who turns 21 in August, participated in last month’s MLB Draft Combine in San Diego If he consented to MLB’s pre-draft MRI program, he would have to receive a signing bonus offer of at least 75% of his slot value.
To put it another way, the Red Sox would have to offer Wallace at least $1,429,125 in signing bonus money if they were to take him in the second round as Baseball America forecasts. If they do not, Wallace would then become a free agent.
That being said, Arkansas is a school the Red Sox have liked drafting out of in recent years. Since 2014, Boston has selected five former Razorbacks in the amateur draft, including 2015 first-rounder Andrew Benintendi.
It remains to be seen if Wallace will make it to the second round of this year’s draft or will instead be taken in the first round like Benintendi. On that note, though, the 2022 MLB Draft will get underway in Los Angeles on July 17.
(Picture of Cayden Wallace: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)