Soderstrom reps A's on Top 100 Prospects

August 19th, 2021

CHICAGO -- Though he has yet to play a game above Low-A, is quickly making his way up the prospect rankings of both the A’s and Major League Baseball.

Soderstrom, Oakland’s 2020 first-round Draft pick who doesn’t turn 20 years old until November, was ranked No. 46 in MLB Pipeline’s updated Top 100 Prospects list on Thursday. Soderstrom is the club’s lone prospect in the Top 100, with the left-handed-hitting catcher moving into the Top 50 after not making the list in the preseason rankings.

“When I was 18 years old, I was afraid to talk to anybody on a big league roster,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Soderstrom in February. “He seems to be really comfortable. He’s comfortable when he talks to me. I guess when you’re good, you have some confidence in being around the guys. Very rarely do you see a guy that young that seems to be that much comfortable around these guys right now, and he certainly is confident any time he steps in the box.”

Soderstrom, who went on the 7-day injured list at Low-A Stockton on Monday due to a back issue, also moves into the top spot of the A’s Top 30 rankings after being ranked No. 3 earlier this year. He sits just ahead of No. 2 prospect, shortstop Max Muncy, who was Oakland’s first-round pick in 2021 and is currently with the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League A's. Muncy is one of three 2021 Draft picks to crack Oakland’s Top 10, along with third baseman Zack Gelof (No. 7) and outfielder Denzel Clarke (No. 9).

Right-hander Daulton Jefferies (No. 5) is the top-ranked pitcher in the farm system not currently on the active roster -- A.J. Puk is one spot ahead, but is also in the A’s bullpen -- but that could change very soon. Jefferies made one start for Oakland on Aug. 1 against the Angels, earning the win after giving up three runs in five innings, but the rest of his time has been spent with Triple-A Las Vegas.

When Chris Bassitt was placed on the injured list on Wednesday after being struck in the face by a line drive on Tuesday night, that could have opened the door for Jefferies to return to the big league club. But since Jefferies pitched on Sunday, Melvin went a different route. Still, it likely won’t be long before Jefferies finds his way back to Oakland.

“Daulton Jefferies, obviously, would be the obvious candidate [to be called up], but his day did not fall today,” Melvin said Wednesday.

Oakland struggling against former bullpen arm
After spending five years throwing for the A’s, Liam Hendriks has found himself in the opposing bullpen for the first time since leaving Oakland, with his former club visiting Chicago this week.

In Wednesday’s 3-2 loss, the White Sox called on Hendriks with one out and two men on in the top of the eighth and the A’s trailing by a run. Oakland ultimately squandered the scoring threat, with Mitch Moreland grounding out to first and Mark Canha flying out to center before Hendriks struck out the side in the ninth. That followed a perfect appearance from Hendriks in the A’s 5-2 loss on Monday, when he punched out Seth Brown, Moreland and Canha in the ninth to pick up the save.

The A’s are 0-for-8 with six strikeouts against Hendriks through the first three games of the series, and it might be in Oakland’s best interest to make sure he stays in the White Sox ‘pen for the Thursday matinee.

“[He’s] a guy that you can also use, like they did yesterday, for five outs,” Melvin said Thursday. “He's given up some home runs this year, but we haven't seen it. I wish we did. But he looks pretty much the same. Here we are in the middle of August, and his velo is close to 100 miles an hour.”