A's Soderstrom joins father as first-round pick

June 11th, 2020

Tyler Soderstrom is the A's top pick as the No. 26 overall selection in the 2020 Draft and the second catcher taken in the first round.

Here are 10 things to know about the 18-year-old, left-handed-hitting backstop out of Turlock (Calif.) High School.

• Tyler is the son of Steve Soderstrom, who was drafted No. 6 overall by the Giants in 1993 out of Fresno State and pitched one season in the big leagues. Tyler went to the same high school as his dad, who was drafted by the Mets in the 15th round in 1990 before he went on to play college ball. (The Pirates' Kevin Kramer is the only Turlock alum currently in the Major Leagues.)

There's more baseball in the Soderstrom family. Tyler's older brother, Tate, is a junior outfielder at the University of Arizona. Tyler is a UCLA commit, which would put him and his brother in the same conference, the Pac-12.

• The Soderstroms are now the 10th father-son duo who were both drafted in the first round. They continue a trend from the 2019 Draft, when Bobby Witt Jr. went No. 2 overall and joined his father, Bobby Witt, who went No. 3 overall in 1985.

The other eight family pairings: Tom and Ben Grieve (1966 and '94), Jeff and Sean Burroughs (1969 and '98), Delino DeShields and Delino DeShields Jr. (1987 and 2010), Tom and Neil Walker (1968 and 2004), John Mayberry and John Mayberry Jr. (1967 and 2002/'05), Steve and Nick Swisher (1973 and 2002), Phil and Tyler Nevin (1992 and 2015) and Rod and Brad Boxberger (1978 and 2009).

• Here's one fun fact about the Soderstroms: Steve Soderstrom and both sons played for the same coach at Turlock, Mark de la Motte, who coached the team for 26 years from 1982 to 2018.

Here's another: the Soderstrom family is known in Stanislaus County (where Turlock is) for its turkey farms and almond orchards. Steve's grandfather, Melvin -- Tyler's great-grandfather -- started the family business in 1922.

• You can follow Soderstrom on social media at @tylersode on both Twitter and Instagram.

Check out that fish:

• Soderstrom's favorite current MLB players include Buster Posey, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich, as he told CalHiSports.com recently. While he's currently a catcher like Posey, he's also athletic enough to play the outfield like Bellinger and Yelich, as well as third base.

"I love catching," Soderstrom said. "As long as my bat is in the lineup, I love playing anywhere on the field."

• Soderstrom played for the U.S. 18U National Team in summer 2019, starting all nine games in the World Baseball Softball Confederation U-18 Baseball World Cup. He hit .364 for Team USA, including a two-run double in a win over Chinese Taipei on Aug. 30 and an RBI double in a win over Spain on Sept. 2.

• Soderstrom played in the inaugural season of the PDP League, an invite-only league for the country's top high school players ahead of the 2020 Draft, which is part of MLB and USA Baseball's joint Prospect Development Pipeline initiative.

The 80 prep players in the PDP League were divided into four teams captained by Derek Jeter, Chipper Jones, Barry Larkin and Ryan Howard. Soderstrom was on Team Jones, along with other top Draft prospects like Mick Abel (No. 11), Cade Horton (No. 47), Tanner Witt (No. 53) and Cam Brown (No. 61).

• Soderstrom's performance in the PDP League earned him a spot in the 2019 High School All-Star Game at Progressive Field, one of the steps toward making the 18U National Team. He went 1-for-2 in the game while starting at catcher. It was his first time playing a game in an MLB stadium.

"It was kind of crazy with the stands everywhere," Soderstrom told The Modesto Bee after the game. "It’s a different feel."

• Along with the PDP League, Soderstrom also had a strong summer showing at events like the Perfect Game All-American Classic. That helped put him on the map for the 2020 Draft, as he got to showcase tools like his strong arm.

• Soderstrom was just named the Gatorade California Baseball Player of the Year for 2019-20. He only got to play five games as a senior before the season was canceled, but as a junior he hit .450 with four home runs and a 1.340 OPS in 28 games for Turlock.