There was some debate entering the season, but there is no longer any question about the identity of the Oakland A’s top prospect. And he’s quickly rising to the top of the national charts too.
The All-Star Futures Game was held Sunday, with one or two prospects from every MLB organization facing off in a minor league showdown. The A’s representative was catcher Tyler Soderstrom, though he ended up playing first base in the game.
Not everybody chosen for the Futures roster is necessarily their team’s No. 1 prospect, but many are and they mostly tend to be high-profile names. It’s especially telling to see the 19-year-old Soderstrom get the prestigious call, barely a year after wrapping up high school, and it’s just the latest vote of confidence in what has already been a whirlwind pro career.
After the A’s drafted him in the 1st round last summer out of nearby Turlock, he was one of only three teenagers invited to their alternate training site to work with their 60-man player pool during the pandemic. This year he received a non-roster invite to spring training before he’d even played in a pro game, and responded by going 4-for-10 with three doubles. When the regular season began he went straight to full-season ball at Low-A Stockton and is already his club’s best hitter, with a 149 wRC+ and a robust .311/.396/.550 batting line in 222 plate appearances.
- Soderstrom, A-: .311/.396/.550, 149 wRC+, 9 HR, 10.8% BB, 23.9% Ks
Between his dynamic set of tools and a great first impression on the field, Soderstrom is flying up the national prospect ranks. Last winter he only cracked a single Top 100 list, No. 92 at Baseball America, but he’s up to No. 46 now and has also been recognized by all the other prominent sources. FanGraphs started him in their honorable mention section but now they’ve got him at No. 42, and he made an even bigger jump at Baseball Prospectus. They ignored him entirely in January, but in their midseason update last week they placed him No. 14 overall.
As for Sunday’s Futures Game, Soderstrom came off the bench in the 4th inning to take over on defense. However, instead of suiting up behind the plate as a catcher, he played first base, though he didn’t get any fielding chances in two innings of work. He came to bat in the 6th and struck out swinging on four pitches, against right-hander Manuel Rodriguez from the Cubs upper-minors. Click here for the full box score, as the NL team won 8-3.
The A’s are wrapping up the final rounds of the 2021 draft today, but their top 2020 pick is still demanding the spotlight, not just locally but nationally.
A’s prospect Tyler Soderstrom in the cage at Coors Field pic.twitter.com/MlbfmGA7b3— John Shea (@JohnSheaHey) July 11, 2021
The A’s past representatives in the Futures Game include the following (click here for full list back to 1999):
- 2013: Addison Russell and Michael Ynoa
- 2014: Renato Nuñez
- 2015: Renato Nuñez and Matt Olson
- 2016: Ryon Healy
- 2017: A.J. Puk
- 2018: Jesús Luzardo and Sean Murphy (skipped due to injury)
- 2019: Jorge Mateo
On top of that list, current Oakland outfield prospect Buddy Reed repped the Padres in 2018, and reliever Domingo Acevedo repped the Yankees in 2017. Go back another decade, and Elvis Andrus repped the Braves in 2007 and then the Rangers in 2008.