Local baseball fans anxiously waiting to see the next crop of Turlock talent play in the big leagues will have to wait a little longer, as Turlock High graduates Nick Avila and Tyler Soderstrom will begin their 2023 seasons in the minor leagues.
On Tuesday, Avila was officially returned to the San Francisco Giants organization after the Chicago White Sox informed him that he would not be making the club’s opening day roster. The White Sox selected the 25-year-old pitcher from the Giants in this winter’s Rule 5 Draft.
As a draftee in the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft, Avila would have had to have been placed on the White Sox 26-man roster for the entirety of the 2023 season. Since he did not make the major league squad, the rules required him to be offered back to his original team, and it was an offer that the Giants didn’t hesitate to take.
According to James Fegan of The Athletic, Avila was informed that he wouldn’t make Chicago’s opening day roster on Sunday evening. As spring training wrapped up on Tuesday, Avila was officially waived and immediately picked up by the Giants.
This spring, Avila appeared in 10 games, pitching 7 innings and posting a 7.20 ERA. While the White Sox couldn’t find a major league roster spot for the Turlocker, the Giants will be allowed to place him in the minor leagues.
Prior to December’s Rule 5 Draft, Avila had been in the Giants organization since 2019 after being selected in the 26th round of that year’s regular MLB Draft out of Long Beach State. Last season between San Francisco affiliates High-A Eugene and Double-A Richmond, Avila posted a 1.14 ERA and struck out 54 batters while only allowing 14 walks in 55 1/3 innings pitched over 47 appearances. Additionally, he earned 16 saves. It is unclear what affiliate Avila will be assigned to when the minor league season kicks off on Friday.
As for Soderstrom, he was reassigned to Athletics minor league camp on March 19. In 17 games with Oakland’s spring training squad, the 21-year-old went 9 for 34 (.265) with three doubles, a triple, a home run, two walks and three RBI.
Ed Sprague has served as the A’s Director of Player Development since Soderstrom was drafted by the club in 2020. In December, he explained that the organization will take as much time as they need to develop the highly touted, #1 prospect.
“Obviously, he’s at a place now where people will be expecting his debut in the big leagues, and it’ll come. I think Tyler will play in the big leagues if he stays healthy and he’ll have his opportunity, but I don’t think that should be the focus for him right now,” Sprague said.
With the Athletics’ 26-man roster complete for Opening Day on Thursday, Soderstrom is likely to be assigned to Triple-A Las Vegas, where he finished off his 2022 season. In nine games with the Aviators, the Turlock native went 11 for 37 (.297) with one double, one home run, one walk and six RBI.
The Aviators’ season will get underway on Friday when they take the short trip to Reno to face off against the Aces, the Triple-A affiliate for the Arizona Diamondbacks.