Tyler Soderstrom may be new to the Oakland A’s, but he is already familiar with one of their pitching prospects.
Should the Oakland A’s be able to sign Tyler Soderstrom, there will be a learning curve. The young catcher will not only need to learn what it is like to be a professional baseball player, but he will need to learn the tendencies of opposing players and his pitchers. It is a lot to ask of any young player, and may well factor in as to why catchers tend to develop at a slower pace than other prospects.
But Soderstrom will not be wading into entirely unfamiliar waters. His father, Steve Soderstrom, was a former first round pick of the San Francisco Giants in 1993. While he may have had a short major league career, the elder Soderstrom pitched professionally for seven years, allowing him to be the perfect mentor for his son.
Soderstrom also has familiarity within the A’s as well. His father provided pitching lessons to A’s prospect Daulton Jefferies, with Oakland’s first round pick catching many of those bullpen sessions. He would have quite the intimate knowledge of Jefferies’ stuff, and what pitches are working at any given time.
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Perhaps that familiarity played a part in the A’s decision to draft Soderstrom. Jefferies is one of their top pitching prospects when healthy, and could be in the majors as soon as this season. While it is highly unlikely that Soderstrom will be catching the A’s prospect any time soon, he is someone that could vouch for the youngster’s skills behind the plate.
As teams were unable to do much of their scouting in traditional means, those connections can make a difference. Catcher had been considered a possible option for the A’s in the draft, with players like Dillon Dingler considered to be in the mix.
Instead, the A’s chose Soderstrom, who was considered to be the best high school catcher in the draft. This added familiarity may help with the A’s decision to keep him behind the plate, as there have been some questions as to his future role. However, at least one person in the organization can say how well he handles himself behind the plate.
The Oakland A’s may not have had much of a chance to scout Tyler Soderstrom in traditional ways. But his familiarity with Daulton Jefferies could have helped swing the pick his way.