Blue Jays prospect Trenton Wallace discusses the University of Iowa, the 2021 MLB Draft, and playing at Nat Bailey Stadium
7 months ago
Hailing from Rock Island, Illinois, Blue Jays prospect Trenton Wallace decided to take his talents to the University of Iowa after a solid high school career at Davenport Assumption (Davenport, Iowa).
“My decision to attend the University of Iowa was because it felt like home more and more after each visit. I became closer with the coaching staff and the team was very welcoming each time I visited. The way they competed at every game I attended, and with the competitive edge I have, I knew it was the place to be. They also intrigued me by allowing me to play as a two-way player which only one other school had offered.”
After winning a state and conference title as a high school senior, Wallace spent parts of four seasons with the Hawkeyes, posting a 3.33 ERA through 45 appearances (25 starts) through 135.0 innings, posting a 1.341 WHIP and a 12.1 K/9. The lefty-batter also got to take some reps in the batter’s box and the outfield when he wasn’t on the mound, authoring a .260/.378/.370 slash line with two home runs and a .748 OPS.
Wallace also earned numerous honours, including Big Ten Pitcher of the Year (2021), Collegiate Baseball Second Team All-American (2021), and three Academic All-Big Ten selections.
Prospect pitcher Trenton Wallace took some time to speak with Blue Jays Nation about his time at the University of Iowa, the 2021 MLB Draft, and the transition from college to playing professional baseball…
Although the 2020 campaign was limited due to COVID-19, Wallace knew there was some uncertainty heading into the 2021 MLB Draft, “I was feeling pretty confident going into the draft. I knew I would land with a team, but it was a matter of when and who it would be with. I was a covid Junior and I didn’t know how that would affect my draft stock even with the season I had.”
After a stellar career with the Hawkeyes, Wallace would be selected by the Blue Jays in the 11th round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
“I talked to many teams, which is common in the draft process and had contact with the Blue Jays prior to the draft. I didn’t receive a call from the Blue Jays the day I was drafted but hearing my name called with their pick was a relief. I liked what the organization had discussed with me prior to the draft and I already knew a fellow teammate in Nick Allgeyer. I was excited to be part of a great organization and was excited to progress and succeed with them.”
After the draft, the southpaw finished the 2021 season in Single-A Dunedin, posting a 4.32 ERA through five relief appearances.
Speaking on the differences between pitching at the college level versus the pros, Wallace emphasized opposing batters and their experience at the plate, “There is a different approach to hitters in the Low-A level than the college level… It seems that the count does not dictate what the hitter is trying to do. In college ball, if you get ahead of a hitter, they are more than likely going to shorten up and try to put the ball in play. With Dunedin, hitters are trying to hit for more power and are not as concerned with striking out as much.”
After finishing the year with Dunedin, Wallace returned to the Blue Jays to start the 2022 season but was promoted to the High-A Vancouver Canadians on July 15th. He did miss some time in mid-April due to injury but Wallace found himself getting increased reps in the rotation, making 14 starts on the year (20 overall appearances) and posting a 2.36 ERA through 80.0 innings, a career-high for the Illinois product. Collectively, the left-hander posted a 12.4 K/9 with 110 strikeouts and allowed just three home runs on the year to the tune of a 1.050 WHIP.
“Playing in Nat Bailey Stadium truly felt like a professional environment. Playing in front of 6,000 fans consistently is an adrenaline rush at times, but the Canadians fans really give you the feeling of being supported every outing. One thing I realized quickly in my first full pro season is to stay in the moment. You have to focus on where you are and what you can control and the rest will take care of itself.”
Wallace speaks about the 2023 season ahead…
Looking ahead to this season, Wallace has some goals in mind as well as working on his velocity, “One thing I focused on this offseason is velocity. I am hoping to gain a couple of MPH this season and hold it consistently through each start.”
After finishing the year in High-A, the left-hander is looking to continue moving up through the Minor Leagues, “Obviously the goal is always to make it as far up in the organization as you can, however, my goal is mostly to give each day everything I can. Show up to the field and put the work in each and every day, and the rest of the goals will take care of themselves.”
Whether he returns back to Vancouver to begin the year or gets moved to AA New Hampshire, Trenton Wallace is one pitcher to keep an eye on this year and beyond, especially if he can continue to keep striking out batters and the rate he is.
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