Latest Baseball America mock draft has Red Sox selecting Arkansas’ Cayden Wallace with second-round pick

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)


Feleipe Franks, technically a Red Sox prospect, signs with Atlanta Falcons

After not being selected in this past week’s NFL Draft, former University of Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks signed with the Atlanta Falcons on Saturday, according to his agents at Overtime Sports Management Group.

Franks, 23, originally began his collegiate career at the University of Florida after signing with the Gators out of high school in 2015.

While attending Wakulla High School in Crawfordville, Fla., Franks was a two-sport athlete, as he played baseball in addition to football.

On the baseball side of things, Franks was fairly effective as a pitcher, reaching 88 mph with his fastball. And while he did not get drafted by a major-league club out of high school on account of not playing his senior year, the interest in baseball still remained.

During his time at Florida, Franks appeared in a total of 28 games over three seasons and enjoyed a great deal of success as a sophomore in 2018, throwing 24 touchdown passes and just six interceptions while accounting for more than 2,800 yards of total offense.

In the months leading up to the 2019 football season, Franks received word that the Boston Red Sox were interested in selecting him in the upcoming MLB first-year player draft.

Despite having not thrown a baseball since his junior year of high school, Franks took the Red Sox up on their interest and threw a bullpen session, one in which he reached 94 mph on the radar gun.

Shortly thereafter, the Sox selected Franks in the 31st round of the June draft and signed him for $40,000 the following month, though he ultimately opted to continue his college football career.

Back in March, Franks told The Boston Globe’s Nicole Yang that being drafted by the Red Sox came as a shock.

“It definitely was surprising for me,” he said. “But it was a great experience. Still is.”

The Florida native came into his junior season with high expectations, but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in September that would cost him the rest of the year.

Later transferring to Arkansas for his redshirt senior season, Franks led the Razorbacks to a 3-6 record in the nine games he played in 2020, but he did so while completing more than 68% of his passes in addition to accounting for 17 touchdowns and just four turnovers.

On an individual level, the 6-foot-7, 234 pound passer wrapped up his college career on a solid note and was even one of six quarterbacks to participate in this year’s Senior Bowl, yet no NFL team thought he was worthy of spending a draft pick on.

With Atlanta, Franks will join a quarterback room that includes the likes of Boston College alumni Matt Ryan and veteran backup A.J. McCarron.

As he explained to Yang, he is hopeful that his experience on the diamond can help him further develop on the gridiron.

“I think you can just see it with different guys — Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes,” said Franks. “It helps with arm angles. There’s so many different arm angles you throw in football, especially as a quarterback. It’s rare that you’ll just sit there and throw a perfect ball.”

By drafting and signing Franks in 2019, the Red Sox — as noted by — “reserve his baseball rights in the event he moves on from football down the line.”

According to Yang, the Sox will retain Franks’ rights through the 2024 season, so the door will remain open for him to pursue a career in baseball if the whole NFL thing does not work out.

Franks is not the only former Florida quarterback the Red Sox have drafted in recent years. Boston also took Jeff Driskel, now of the Denver Broncos, in the 29th round of the 2013 amateur draft.

(Picture of Feleipe Franks: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)