For a low payroll team like the Oakland A’s, the draft is one of the most important events on the calendar every year. A good draft could determine whether or not they make the playoffs 5 years in the future. But recently, they’ve been having more success in their later rounds or by trading for prospects in other organizations. Since 2015, A.J. Puk has been their only first round pick to become a top prospect. It might have to do with their low risk approach to the draft. Over the past six years the A’s have fallen into the habit of drafting exclusively college players as only one of their last eight picks in the first round have been from high school (Austin Beck in 2017). But in a draft that was crazy from the get-go, it only made sense that a club well known for breaking tradition did it again. With the 26th overall pick, the A’s drafted local high school prospect Tyler Soderstrom.
Standing at 6’2, 190 pounds, the left-handed hitting catcher is well regarded among scouts for his hitting tools. His quick hands and line drive swing helped him hit .450 with four home runs in his junior year at Turlock High School. He has a high level of athleticism, running a 6.86 60 yard dash and showing the ability to play third base and outfield. There are concerns about Soderstrom’s defense behind the plate, as he reportedly was the backup on his high school team. He can make throws to second well, as Perfect Game recorded his pop time to second base at 1.90 seconds, but his ability to receive and frame pitches remains unproven. But with a bat that some scouts grade out as having 60 hit and 60 power, the Gatorade California player of the year will find a spot on the diamond somewhere. The A’s do have quality catchers in their organization, with Sean Murphy, Austin Allen and Jonah Heim making up a fierce three headed dragon, but they’re all at the major league level. Soderstrom will have all the time he needs to develop at the lower levels of the minors, whether that is behind the plate or not.