Baseball Prospect Journal

Cayden Wallace excels at hitting opposite field

Cayden Wallace Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Cayden Wallace is not like most high school hitters. The right-handed hitting infielder has an advanced approach at the plate and consistently drives the ball up the middle and to right field.

His ability to drive the ball to the opposite field is what separates him from some of the best prep players in this year’s MLB draft class. Wallace, who’s a senior at Greenbrier High School in Arkansas, likely will be an early-round pick in this year’s draft due to his ability and potential at the plate.

It’s a unique year for Wallace, who had his last season of high school baseball cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. His brother Paxton, who’s a junior third baseman at Wichita State, also is eligible for this year’s draft.

“It’s helped us big time because we can call each other and talk if we have any questions and hopefully one of us knows the answer,” said Wallace, who’s a University of Arkansas commit.

“I just want to thank my Lord for being able to experience this. It’s been an amazing experience, but I am just focused on getting back on the field and just getting ready for when the time comes for the draft or college baseball.”

Last summer, Wallace participated in the inaugural PDP League, which is a three-week, invite-only developmental event put on by MLB and USA Baseball at IMG Academy in Florida. The event featured 80 of the top prep players in the country. It allowed the players to compete in a high-level environment that resembles the professional ranks while receiving instructions from former pro players. 

Wallace had an impressive showing at the event. He posted the second-highest average exit velocity and hit seven baseballs over 420 feet, including one that traveled 441 feet.

The event gave Wallace confidence and allowed him to compare himself against other talented players to figure out what he needed to improve on to prepare for his senior season, he said.

“It was the closest thing to pro ball that any of us have experienced,” he said. “It opened our eyes up on what we needed to do to get better. The experience was amazing down there.”

Wallace, who’s 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, has a short, compact swing with notable bat speed and strength. He has an advanced approach and power to all fields.

Wallace credits summer baseball coach Joe Fitts for instilling in him the importance of hitting the ball opposite field from an early age. 

“If we hit the ball, it needed to be oppo from a young age,” Wallace said. “As we got older, he let us pull the ball. But from 7 years old, he taught us the importance of going oppo and it’s helped my game.”

Wallace played shortstop his junior and senior seasons for Greenbrier High after playing mostly third base as a sophomore. During the showcase circuit last summer, Wallace saw time at first base, second base, third base and outfield.

In the future, Wallace believes his long-term position is third base. He has a strong arm, solid hands and the athleticism to play third base but wants to refine those skills in preparation for the next step in his baseball career whether that’s pro ball or Arkansas.

“I’m just working on getting bigger, faster and stronger,” Wallace said. “I just want to work on the hitting ability and take ground balls and just get better in all aspects of the game.

“Defensively, I feel like I am best when I am reacting to the baseball. I can just layout and not think about it and make the play and get up and throw him out or throw it from my knees. I just feel like (third base) is my best position.”

Read more stories on top 2020 MLB draft prospects here.

Video of Cayden Wallace hitting an opposite field home run.

Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for five years. He’s interviewed 191 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.

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