It’s clear to even the most casual fan that farm systems and prospects are invaluable to any team, especially one in a rebuild. Oakland A’s No. 1 prospect – and the 42nd overall MLB prospect – Tyler Soderstrom provokes similar homegrown pride.
While we may like the flashy free agents and the accompanying buzz, a well-constructed farm system creates more hope for the future.
Oakland is, obviously, no different. Some of these key farm system players may ring a few bells – Zito, Mulder, Swisher, Tejada. The list goes on. Can we expect to one day include Soderstrom on this list?
What Tyler Soderstrom bring to the table at first base
The ambidextrous catcher and first baseman, drafted in 2020, offers some flexibility for Oakland in the coming years. With teams likely waiting to pounce on Matt Olson once this lockout is over, first base looks a little bare.
Defensively, Soderstrom’s putouts are strong in games started at first base with low-A Stockton Ports, recording 1 error in 9 starts. Although not a large pool of data to draw from, it may make fans a little more comfortable to know there is a future at first base sans Olson.
While Soderstrom spent some time at first base, he flashes talent mostly behind the plate. He was a highly-touted draft pick because of his catching ability, ending his first minor league season with a fielding percentage at .985.
Tyler Soderstrom’s numbers indicate offensive shine for the future
Soderstrom’s offense paints a hopeful picture. In 2021, he slashed .306/.390/.568 with a total of 12 home runs. In addition to hitting for power, he recorded 20 doubles and 1 triple.
Room for some improvement as his minor league career continues
Soderstrom is still young, so there is still work to be done. In 254 plate appearances his overall SO percentage is 24%, with a BB percentage just over 10.5%.
Keep in mind, he played a total of 57 games in 2021, missing significant part of the season due to a back injury. It will be interesting to see the post-recovery progress in 2022 shown through improvements in his SO and BB percentages.
Soderstrom, still very early in his time with the A’s, will be exciting to watch and hopefully bring some of that familiar homegrown talent to the big league stage in the coming years.