Turlock High alum and current Oakland Athletics prospect Tyler Soderstrom was called up to the organization’s Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators, on Monday. The Aviators are the third team in the A’s minor-league system that Soderstrom has played for this season after starting the year at High-A affiliate Lansing and most recently Double-A affiliate Midland.
Soderstrom explained that he was informed of his promotion to Las Vegas by manager Bobby Crosby after Midland’s final game of the season on Sept. 17.
“We were in Midland, Texas finishing up our last series on Saturday. I was walking through the dugout on our Saturday game. My manager pulled me aside and told me the news. I was obviously really happy and really excited,” Soderstrom said.
Between Lansing and Midland this year, the 20-year-old Soderstrom impressed with 125 hits, 28 home runs, 99 runs batted in and 39 walks in 468 at-bats over 125 games played. He spoke about the meteoric rise he’s had through the minor league ranks this season.
“Anything’s possible in this game,” he said. “I feel like the game, especially in the big leagues, gets younger and younger each year [with] younger talent. You always have that in the back of your mind that it’s a possibility [to be promoted], but you just try to take it day by day.”
Soderstrom made his Triple-A debut on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, starting at catcher and batting second in the Aviators’ lineup as they faced off against the Reno Aces. He grabbed his first base hit with the club in the bottom of the seventh inning after a rocket line drive deflected off the glove of Reno shortstop Blaze Alexander. Soderstrom finished his debut going 1 for 4 at the plate while catching all nine innings in the Aviators’ 17-5 loss.
Despite the losing effort, Soderstrom said the experience was one he would never forget.
“It’s been everything I could have asked for,” he said. “Teammates are awesome, coaching staff’s awesome, training staff’s awesome, everyone was really welcoming. The facility is top notch, the clubhouse is top notch, so it’s been a great experience thus far.”
At the time of this publication, the Aviators have seven games left on their 2022 schedule. Soderstrom is highly motivated to make the most out of the limited time remaining on the minor league season.
“I obviously just want to finish these next games strong, stay healthy. Obviously, everybody knows about the 29 home runs and 99 RBI, so it would be kind of cool to get 100 RBI and 30 home runs, so those are probably two of my goals going forward,” he said.
Soderstrom also hopes to continue making progress as he balances playing first base and his natural position of catcher.
“[I’ve] got into a little routine playing first and catching. I’m really comfortable at both spots and just glad that I can play both positions and be in the lineup to help my team win,” he said.
Soderstrom is currently ranked as the No. 50 prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com. He is also ranked by the website as the No. 2 prospect in the entire Oakland farm system, sitting only behind catcher Shea Langeliers, who was called up the major leagues on Aug. 16. In March, Soderstrom was a non-roster invitee to Athletics spring training. He is expected to be at spring training once again come 2023.