It did not take long for Tyler Soderstrom to impress the Oakland A’s. Selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, the high school catcher was immediately challenged as he was assigned to the A’s alternate training site. He held his own against advanced competition, impressing the A’s and prospect hounds along the way.
Nonetheless, the A’s were cautious with Soderstrom to start the 2021 season. He was assigned to the Stockton Ports in A-Ball, giving him a chance to get his feet wet as a professional. Soderstrom would still be younger than most of the competition he would face, but it would be a great chance for the A’s to see where he is in his development.
Tyler Soderstrom off to impressive start to Oakland A’s career
Thus far, Soderstrom has not had any trouble with the opposition. Entering Monday, he has produced a .283/.383/.469 batting line, hitting 12 doubles and three homers in his 133 plate appearances. Even though his defense may be a work in progress, he has thrown out 25% of would-be base stealers and has done well in limited action at first.
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Soderstrom is essentially living up to his scouting report. He was considered to be a bat first prospect, one whose advanced approach at the plate, excellent bat speed, and ability to make strong contact could allow him to rise through the A’s system quickly. It is just a matter of finding a spot for him defensively.
That is the biggest question for Soderstrom moving forward. He is quick and athletic with a strong arm, and did improve in the defensive aspects of the game at the A’s alternate site. However, he is also raw when it comes to calling a game and blocking balls in the dirt. The latter is still an issue, as evidenced by his six passed balls in 18 games behind the plate.
It has been suggested that Soderstrom will eventually move from behind the plate, potentially to third or a corner outfield spot. His bat is expected to be able to play in those positions, and he is athletic enough to make the transition. With Sean Murphy entrenched behind the plate for the foreseeable future, a move to another position could make sense. But that is a question for down the line.
Tyler Soderstrom is off to an impressive start to his professional career. His results at the plate are living up to his scouting report.