When will Tyler Soderstrom get the chance to return to Oakland?

Tyler Soderstrom is hitting well in Triple-A. Will he get the chance to prove himself in the majors again this summer?
Oakland Athletics Spring Training
Oakland Athletics Spring Training / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Oakland Athletics catching prospect Tyler Soderstrom was bad in his major league debut last year. He hit .160/.232/.240 in 45 games after getting called up post-All Star Break.

He followed that up with a poor showing in spring training and in a bit of a surprise move, the A's sent him to Triple-A to start the year.

He's been much better so far in 2024. He's up to .250/.342/.540 and his plate discipline has improved a bit since we last saw him in Las Vegas. He's still not a viable defensive catcher but the bat is coming around, slowly but surely.

At some point this year, Soderstrom should get the opportunity to get back to Oakland to prove himself.

With first baseman Ryan Noda's demotion to Triple-A last week, Soderstrom is likely just an injury or two away from getting that chance to get back to the majors.

But will it work out for him? And where will he play when he does return?

Soderstrom has been playing behind the plate in Las Vegas but as we've seen in the limited sample between Oakland and this year's spring training, he's barely playable at catcher. He was one of the worst framing catchers in the league in three months of playing time in 2023 and he doesn't have a rocket arm like Shea Langeliers does.

Since he isn't athletic enough to play in the outfield, he'll likely be relegated to either learning first base or serving as a designated hitter most nights. But if that's the case, his bat needs to improve.

His slash line thus far has been good for a 112 wRC+ in Triple-A. If he wants to be an effective major leaguer, he'll need to hit at least that well to make up for the lack of defensive ability.

One major roadblock to Soderstrom's return is the fact that Kyle McCann is proving to be a capable major leaguer. He's had just 28 plate appearances but he's hit .375/.464/.625 with strong plate discipline and good defense behind the plate.

If that continues, Soderstrom's chances of remaining at catcher in Oakland are slim to none. But that doesn't mean he can't play at the major league level if he proves he can hit.

If Soderstrom can see some of the success he's had in Triple-A this year translate to the majors, he'll be an asset for this Athletics' team. The A's need that to be the case because if he fails in a second call-up, his trade value is going to plummet.

The A's need Soderstrom to play well. Whether he's an impact bat for them in the future or just that he hits well enough for them to trade him for future value doesn't matter. This is a make or break year for the lefty. So far, it's gone well. We'll see if that can continue.