When we can expect Tyler Soderstrom to get promoted to Oakland

For the past three spring trainings, dating back to 2021 when he was just 19 years old, A’s top prospect Tyler Soderstrom has been soaking up game from the pros.

When will the slugger finally break camp with Oakland? It likely won’t be until 2024, but there’s a good chance Soderstrom will make his big-debut in 2023.

On Friday morning I spoke with A’s director of player development Ed Sprague about the next rising star through the ranks. Soderstrom started his 2022 season cold – literally and figuratively – with the High-A Lansing Lugnuts before bolting his way all the way up to Triple-A Las Vegas by the end of the year. There’s a good chance Soderstrom will begin this season in Sin City, putting him one promotion away from The Show.

“I would think. We’ll see how it plays out,” Sprague said. “The likelihood is he starts out in Triple-A.”

So, does that mean he will get the call to Oakland at some point in 2023?

“Well I think that’s a question for the big league general manager,” Sprague said with a laugh. “For him, it’s just about going to Triple-A, getting more at-bats and getting more experience.”

Soderstrom slashed just .159/.232/.318 in 18 April games with the Lugnuts before producing the rest of the season, ending with a nine-game cameo with Vegas. He finished with a .267/.324/.501 slash line, 29 homers and 105 RBIs in 134 games and is currently ranked the No. 35 prospect by Baseball America. He went on some crazy hot stretches throughout the season, like when he hit four dingers in six contests in September with Double-A Midland before getting promoted to Vegas a week later.

While Shea Langeliers is 25 and 22-year-old first base prospect Jordan Diaz got a taste of the big leagues last year, Sprague said there won’t be a positional roadblock for Soderstrom if he’s ready to go to Oakland.

“His bat will get him in the lineup in some capacity,” Sprague said.

Soderstrom was drafted as a catcher but has also been developed as a first baseman the past three seasons. In 2022, he played 59 games at first base, 52 at catcher and 25 as a designated hitter.

“Me as an athlete, I feel very versatile,” Soderstrom told Chris Townsend on A’s Cast Wednesday. “I feel like I could contribute anywhere. I love doing both of ‘em. I love catching and I love playing first base. I would be happy to play either position. I’m just kinda here to take little things here and there and keep getting better at those positions. I would love to catch in the big leagues, I would love to play first in the big leagues and I would also love to hit in the big leagues. Wherever the A’s want me to play, I’m gonna play and be just be happy with it.”

From the front office’s perspective, Soderstrom is viable at both defensive spots.

“I’d say they’re equal,” Sprague said. “He kinda turned himself into a pretty good first baseman last summer. I’d say they’re making equal progress. This is a kid who played almost every position growing up. He’s athletic enough to do a lot of things. We still like his skillset behind the plate.”

Listening to A’s manager Mark Kotsay, it sounds like Soderstrom will have his catcher’s gear on a lot this spring.

“The majority of Tyler’s work will be behind the plate at spring training here,” Kotsay said Thursday, via A’s media relations. “He has played first base and feels really comfortable. I think (Midland manager) Bobby Crosby has mentioned that he’s an average, or above average first baseman. I think at this point right now I want to see him behind the plate here at camp. If there is an opportunity to put him at first it would be very limited.”

Listed at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Soderstrom has bulked up his frame quite a bit since he was drafted. He’s a certified blue-chipper that has the franchise hyped.

“We were really excited about Matt Olson, Matt Chapman,” Sprague said. “There’s a lot of guys we’ve been excited about, so he’s another one in line.”

Veteran Manny Pina is set to backup Langeliers at catcher this spring, but the A’s hold a $4 million club option next year they could easily axe if Soderstrom is ready. The fact Soderstrom bats lefty and Langeliers bats righty could also lend itself to a future platoon at catcher. Over at first base, Diaz is joined by other candidates like free agent signee Jesus Aguilar, Dermis Garcia and Rule 5 draft pick Ryan Noda. In other words, there’s a path for Soderstrom to get at-bats once he arrives in Oakland.

My guess for an ETA? I think he’ll fare well at Triple-A and get to Oakland sometime in July or August, before the roster expands in September. The future of the franchise could be arriving in no time.

“I wanna get to the big leagues as quickly as possible,” Soderstrom said. “So I wanna have a good spring and make the decision a little harder for them. Just push my way up there as much as I can. Obviously, learn as much from the older guys as I can and keep taking stuff from them to keep helping me to become a player and get to the show as quick as I can.”

One Comment

  • Jeff H.

    Man, I hope so. We need to something this season that gives us hope for the future. I’d like to see him and Gelof get called up at some point this season before the roster expands in September.

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