A's Soderstrom sees the Future again, and it includes trip to Majors

July 9th, 2023

SEATTLE -- This wasn’t Tyler Soderstrom’s first taste of All-Star weekend, but the A’s top prospect was a much more polished version of himself in his second appearance in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

When Soderstrom played in the 2021 Futures Game in Colorado, he was just a 19-year-old catcher with only half of a professional season under his belt. After he was selected in the first round of the 2020 Draft, he missed playing professional baseball that year because of the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out Minor League play, taking away crucial at-bats early on in his career.

“[You learn] by playing every day,” Soderstrom said. “It’s not easy, you have to stay healthy and grind. It’s tiring at times, but you have to push through and keep going. The biggest thing is learning how to be consistent every day.”

Soderstrom has taken advantage of playing every day. The now-21-year-old has boosted his way to being MLB Pipeline’s No. 35 prospect. He showed off his success at the plate on Saturday night by recording a hit and walk in the National League's 5-0 victory over Soderstrom's American League in front of 42,755 fans at T-Mobile Park.

Even if it was his second Futures Game, the feeling of playing in front of a Major League crowd still felt as special as the first.

“The excitement is there,” Soderstrom said. “You look up and see all the fans and the stadium is awesome. It’s a great environment. You’re around all the top prospects in the organization, so it’s good.”

One of Soderstrom’s biggest strengths is his power. He has 20 home runs with the Las Vegas Aviators, the third most in Triple-A, and 59 RBIs, the fourth most. In three Minor League seasons, Soderstrom has slugged 60 home runs.

His ability to hit the ball for power has always been there, and Soderstrom said part of that is because of his dad, Steve Soderstrom. Steve was taken No. 6 overall in the 1993 Draft out of Fresno State and eventually played one season in the Majors in 1996 with the Giants. Steve has coached Tyler throughout his life and still gives him pointers in his professional baseball journey.

“He can’t do as much as he used to, but he’s always watching,” Soderstrom said. “He’s always there for me. If I’m going through some struggles or not playing as good as I can, he’ll shoot me a text or give me a call and give me some advice. He has done a lot for me.”

The only question that lingers around Soderstrom is what position he will play when he joins the A’s. In 2020, MLB Pipeline had him ranked as the second-best catcher in the Draft class and the 19th player overall, but the report said he was raw in terms of blocking and game management. Soderstrom admits that the lack of play in 2020 played a role, but he’s worked to improve since.

“I feel like coming into pro ball I wasn't very polished behind the plate,” Soderstrom said. “There were some areas I needed to improve on. I needed to get back there every day and play every day. We play a lot of games, so I'm back there a lot. You learn a lot in that time. The biggest thing is getting is the reps.”

In 227 games, Soderstrom has played 125 games at catcher and 92 at first base, along with 10 at designated hitter. He started at first base in the Futures Game, but no matter where he plays, Soderstrom said he’s ready to make an impact.

“I’m ready to go to the big leagues and catch,” Soderstrom said. “I feel like I could play first in the big leagues. I’m trying to stay versatile and get in the lineup either way I can, and being able to do both helps me do that.”