Tyler Soderstrom hasn’t wasted any time putting work in since becoming a member of the A’s organization.
A’s bullpen coach Marcus Jensen noticed it pretty quickly.
“Coming in my blocking wasn’t as strong,” Soderstrom said on Saturday. “Right now I feel super good, I mean, I feel like I can hang with anyone right now. Kind of excited to show everyone.”
Soderstrom was the No. 26 overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. The A's didn’t want to waste any time and grabbed the high school star. He was signed for $3.3 million and made an impression at the alternate site in San Jose.
“I got to kind of learn how to go about my business,” Soderstrom said. “I got to see how some of those big league guys did different things whether that’s in the cage or out on the field. I think for me it was really big. Just to be able to learn and see how those older guys go about their business.”
His spring camp experience has been successful as well.
“I’m just super thankful to be out here, I’m learning a lot from all the coaches, all the players,” he said. “Just to learn as much as I can, defensively and offensively. I want to leave a good impression on these guys, and show them kind of what I’m all about. I’m taking a lot away defensively, same hitting-wise. I’m just trying to leave a good impression and show them what I’m all about.”
As far as his offense goes, he’s always been a guy to keep it simple, so that impression will show rather quickly. And there’s nothing simple about the power his bat possesses.
“Offensively, just getting bigger and stronger and growing into my body more,” he said.
Soderstrom hit .373 with seven home runs across four years at Turlock High School.
Soderstrom was a plus-bat guy who already was advanced with his hitting and Ed Sprague, the A’s director of player personnel, said the 19-year-old “is probably the best that I’ve seen us take since I’ve been here in my short five years in Oakland in terms of strike-zone discipline and power at a young age.”
Is that good? It sounds good.
Despite taking on more of a catcher role, there’s a possibility Soderstrom plays at third base or a corner outfield spot in the future.
So far in Arizona, Soderstrom already has caught the big-league names of Sean Manaea, Nik Turley, Mike Fiers and Chris Bassitt. And one pitcher in particular, Daulton Jefferies, Soderstrom already is all-too-familiar with.
If the name Soderstrom sounded familiar to you seam heads, that’s because Steve Soderstrom, Tyler’s dad, had a cup of coffee in MLB playing in three games for the Giants in 1996.
Jefferies took pitching lessons from Steve in Turlock, which is how Soderstrom was introduced to him.
“It’s definitely pretty crazy,” Soderstrom said. “I remember I was super little, my dad used to give him pitching lessons. I would just be out there running around, just kind of watching him. I kind of followed [Jefferies’] career when he went to Cal and I would always go to his games to watch.”
You love to see it.
“It’s kind of crazy how I ended up being drafted by Oakland,” Soderstrom said. “We were working out a little bit before the draft, not even really thinking that I would be drafted to the A’s. It’s crazy, come draft day, we’re not teammates so it’s pretty awesome.”