Tyler Soderstrom expected to sign above slot deal with A’s
By David Hill
The Oakland A’s may get their man, as Tyler Soderstrom is expected to sign for significantly above his draft slot.
The Oakland A’s selection of Tyler Soderstrom with the 26th overall selection turned a few heads. Catcher was not considered a need for the organization, although there had been several rumors that the team could look in that direction if the right player fell. That was the case when the A’s selected Soderstrom, although he was viewed as a potentially difficult sign given his commitment to UCLA.
It appears as though the A’s are willing to do just that. According to Jon Heyman, the A’s and Soderstrom are close to agreeing on a $3.3 million bonus, far above the slot value of $2,653,400.
With this move, the A’s will replenish their catching prospects. Sean Murphy, one of the top catching prospects in baseball, will be Oakland’s primary catcher. Another well regarded prospect, Jonah Heim, is in the mix for a backup role, either at catcher or as a utility player.
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There are questions as to where Soderstrom will play in the future. While he has a strong arm, he is still very raw defensively behind the plate. However, his athleticism could allow a move to either third or the outfield. It is even possible that he morphs into a utility player that gets action behind the plate while making appearances at other positions.
While his future position may be in question, the bat is not. He has a polished approach at the plate and makes consistently loud contact, displaying a knack for barrelling the ball. While he does not have much power now, that is expected to change as Soderstrom physically matures.
It will be interesting to see how Soderstrom develops, especially defensively. With the pandemic, and the likelihood that the 2020 minor league season will be canceled, he will not have that first season in the instructs. Instead, he will be at the A’s minor league complex, working with coaches in a more individualized setting. Perhaps, with the planned expansion of the Fall Leagues, we will see Soderstrom on the diamond this year.
The Oakland A’s appear to be on the cusp of getting Tyler Soderstrom into the fold. They may have needed to go far above slot, but he is well worth the risk.