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Slade Caldwell’s quick hands make him an MLB draft prospect
(Credit: @slade.mc3/Instagram)

Slade Caldwell’s quick hands make him an MLB draft prospect

JONESBORO, Ark. (BVM) – Slade Caldwell has some of the quickest hands in high school baseball across the country. This is one of the first things you will read on any scouting report about him and it ultimately allowed the Arkansas high schooler to hit .512 as a junior last season.

His secret? A boxing speed bag. 

Caldwell comes home every day from school, heads to the garage and has a 30-minute session to help build up his quickness. He has always loved the sport of boxing and he has used it to turn himself into a premier baseball prospect.

“I feel like boxing is a great way to stay in shape,” Caldwell said. “The hand-eye coordination with the speed bag really helps me remain a good athlete.”

Not only is the Jonesboro, Arkansas, native a “good” athlete, he is one of the best across the prep scene.


The Valley View High School star swiped 40 bags last season while putting up a .930 slugging percentage. He also provided elite defense in the outfield and pitched to a 2.31 ERA when he was on the mound with 72 strikeouts. 

Caldwell was an obvious choice to win the 2023 Arkansas Gatorade Player of the Year.

His play has received national attention, making him the No. 20 prospect for the 2024 MLB Draft according to MLB Pipeline.

The spotlight is nothing new for the 5-foot-8 hit machine as he was highly touted by colleges as early as his freshman year. Schools were reaching out, trying to get Caldwell on campus before he had even played his first high school game.

The process resulted in Caldwell committing to Ole Miss.

“It’s kind of like my second home,” Caldwell said. “I grew up playing in tournaments in Southaven, Mississippi, and Oxford. It’s about two hours and five minutes away from Jonesboro, Arkansas. It would be easier for my family to come watch me.”

Caldwell also loves the experience of a game at Swayze Field.

“The atmosphere the town brings with all sports makes a baseball game feel similar to a football game,” Caldwell said. “It’s just really fun.”

With his commitment to an SEC school as well as his status as a draft prospect, he is well-known around his area. He sees this as an opportunity where he can help inspire others.

Not many projected first-round picks would spend their time giving youth lessons, but Caldwell is an anomaly. He views it as a responsibility to do what he can.

“Youth kids look up to players in the community and high school players,” Caldwell said. “I feel like it’s my job to give back because there was no one to give back to me growing up. Going and hanging out with them opens their eyes and shows we are all human. I’m not bigger than what I seem to be.”

Caldwell has the desire to be a good teammate and help bring home a state title for the Blazers as a senior. After that, there is no telling what can be accomplished by him on and off the field.

“Wherever this takes me to, college or the draft, whichever one I wind up choosing, I’m going to just keep my head straight.”

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