For the first time since 2004, the A's picked a catcher in the first round of the MLB draft.
Oakland selected Tyler Soderstrom with the No. 26 overall pick of the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday.
MLB Pipeline ranked Soderstrom, 18, as the 19th-best prospect heading into the draft. His father, Steve, pitched three games in the majors after the Giants picked him No. 6 overall in the 1993 MLB Draft.
The younger Soderstrom hit .450 with four home runs and a 1.340 OPS as a junior at Turlock High School in 2019, hitting .357 with a homer in five games as senior this year before his season was suspended due to the coronavirus. NBC Sports Bay Area's Dalton Johnson praised Soderstrom's power potential, making the case for Oakland's rivals across the Bay to select him.
"Many evaluators believe Soderstrom will move to third base, a position he split time at in high school," Johnson wrote. "He also has the athleticism to play a corner outfield position, and certainly should be able to man first base. Timing is everything, and it's no mistake that Soderstrom posted a montage on May 31 of himself fielding ground balls."
The Giants did indeed draft a catcher when they selected North Carolina State's Patrick Bailey with the No. 13 overall pick. No other catchers were selected when the A's tabbed Soderstrom, who committed to UCLA.
Soderstrom's commitment might not last much longer. Baseball America's Kyle Glaser reported Wednesday night that the A's reached a deal with Soderstrom worth "considerably above" his draft slot.
I'm hearing the A's have a deal with Tyler Soderstrom for "considerably above slot."— Kyle Glaser (@KyleAGlaser) June 11, 2020
The No. 26 pick has a slot value of just over $2.6 million, while the A's have just over $5.4 million in their draft bonus pool. Oakland would have to pay at least a 75 percent tax on the overage of its bonus pool, depending on how much is spent.