2020 MLB Draft Profile: C/3B/OF Tyler Soderstrom, Turlock HS (Calif.)

Tyler Soderstrom

We’re back with another profile. After back-to-back college players, we return to the high school ranks with one of the more interesting bats available. This is Tyler Soderstrom.

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Previous Entries

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Vitals
6’2, 200 pounds
Position: Catcher/third base/outfield
Bats: Left
Throw: Right
DOB: Nov. 24, 2001

Location
Turlock, Calif.
Commitment: UCLA

Rankings
The Athletic: 29
Baseball America: 18
CBS MLB: 21
ESPN: 10
FanGraphs: 21
MLB Pipeline: 19
Perfect Game: 15

Slot recommended bonus (No. 29): $2,424,600

Note: All information of draft prospects compiled from Internet sources, scouting reports and videos.

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The Dodgers have been pretty good when it comes to drafting position players in the first round. Since 2012, they’ve popped Corey Seager (2012 1st), Gavin Lux (2016 1st), Will Smith (2016 supplemental 1st), Jeren Kendall (2017 1st), Kody Hoese (2019 1st) and Michael Busch (2019 compensatory). Seager, Lux and Smith have been big-time hits, while the jury is still out on last year’s first rounders. The only clunker is the Kendall pick.

That brings us to Soderstrom, who, on talent alone, should probably be a Top 15 pick. But teams are hesitant to take prep catchers in the first round. I wrote about it a bit in my Big Board v 2.0.

“Now look, the track record of prep catchers is well-known. And since 2014 (when that article was written), things really haven’t changed. In the last five drafts, 11 catchers have been selected in the first round, including the competitive balance and supplemental rounds. Of the 11, only three have come from the prep ranks — Tyler Stephenson, 2015; Anthony Seigler and Bo Naylor, both 2018. Stephenson has come around a bit after a slow start to his career. Seigler has done next to nothing in his two pro seasons and Naylor handled himself well as a 19-year-old in the Midwest League. All of that is to say Soderstrom might have a better chance than all of them since some don’t think he’ll stick behind the plate. He could move to an outfield spot or the hot corner because his bat will play anywhere on the diamond.”

So, why am I so high on him? Well, he has a potential premium bat at a premium position, but also because he could end up being defensively versatile.

The biggest knock on Soderstrom is that he might not stick behind the plate. He has a strong arm, good hands and is athletic, but he struggles in almost every other aspect of catching. His transfer isn’t quick enough and he has a little hitch in his throwing motion. We know the Dodgers aren’t afraid to take catchers and they have done relatively well coaching them up, but if Soderstrom can’t stay behind the plate, he could end up at third base or a corner outfield spot. In fact, he posted something on Twitter over the weekend.

That’s Soderstrom, looking very much like a catcher, getting some work in at third base. He has the tools to play the hot corner, but it’s not an easy position to play. If he can handle it, he’d probably be closer to a Top 10 pick. If he can expand his defensive profile to include the outfield as well, he could end up being a very attractive option for teams in the middle of the first round.

Now, let’s talk about the bat. His hit tool is a potentially plus thanks to good hand-eye coordination and bat speed. He has the frame to be a power hitter, but he has trouble incorporating his lower-half, which will limit his power potential. He has a quiet stance and nice left-handed swing. The raw power is plus and if he can get to in games, he could be a premium offensive performer.

Video

Videos courtesy of 2080 Baseball, Prospects Live and Prospect Pipeline.

Odds are, Soderstrom is off the board before No. 29. Only one outlet ranks him that low, as you can see above. But if he’s there and the Dodgers think they can not only get a premium bat for behind the plate but also a defensively versatile player, they’d be awfully tempted to take him. As a prep player with a commitment to a college baseball powerhouse, he’s going to get at least slot, if not more. His offensive profile reminds me a lot of Seager’s, which, yeah, that’ll play.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.