MLB Pipeline unveiled their top 100 overall prospect rankings at the end of January, a revelation that caused quite the stir among A's fans when not a single Oakland prospect was listed.
In fact, the A's were the only team in baseball to not have a representative on the rankings. Long-time top prospect A.J. Puk was left off, likely due to lingering injury history, along with infielders Nick Allen and Robert Puason. Most notably, the A's first-round pick last season, Tyler Soderstrom, wasn't listed either.
However, according to MLB Pipeline's Mike Rosenbaum, Soderstrom just missed the cut, listing concern over the 19-year-old catcher's early defensive projections.
"Concerns about Soderstrom’s defense, which currently is below average, ultimately kept him from making the Top 100 to open 2021," Rosenbaum said. "It also underscores his upward potential as he begins to improve behind the plate."
The A's were pleasantly surprised to land Soderstrom, who was regarded as one of, if not the best, prep catchers in his draft class with the No. 26 overall pick. Oakland quickly pounced on the Turlock native when he slid on draft night. He spent the summer at Oakland's alternate site in San Jose, and he secured a non-roster invite to spring training, where the A's player development staff is sure to continue to work closely with him.
With the loss of the 2020 minor league season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Soderstrom obviously hasn't had much opportunity to develop in professional games, but the A's are big on his raw tools. He profiles as a power-heavy left-handed hitter with a commendable overall approach at the plate. He runs well, especially for a catcher, and the A's are high on his overall athleticism.
While Soderstrom lacks a bit defensively, he has plenty of time to develop into an above-average backstop and the allure of his power, which many believe he still hasn't fully tapped into, is more than enough for him to garner more consideration as a Top 100 candidate in the future.
All things considered, Soderstrom is at least three years away from big league consideration, but it likely won't be long before he cracks the overall prospect rankings.