The latest iteration of ESPN’s MLB Mock Draft 1.0 didn’t just contain one UCLA affiliation. In fact, it held two as Turlock High School catcher and UCLA commit Tyler Soderstrom was also pegged to go in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft.
Soderstrom was selected in the first round with the 24th overall pick to the Tampa Bay Rays. ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel had this to say about Soderstrom:
Some clubs have Soderstrom’s offensive ability evaluated with the three top prep outfielders, who all went in the top 10 in this projection. He’s a fine catcher who has improved behind the plate, but most objections about his defense aren’t taking into account a likely automatic strike-calling future by the time he gets to the big leagues. He’s also athletic enough to play any corner position. Soderstrom may be the best example of a player that I’ll have ranked higher than where he goes in the draft, because the risky prep catcher demographic doesn’t apply to him as much as it may appear.
It’s easy to see why he’s not only a sought after high school recruit but why he’s considered with such pro potential.
He’s a left-handed hitter with tremendous athleticism — racking in the top percentiles in a bevy of rankings within his class. He’s a Perfect Game All-American Classic representative and Perfect Game had this to say about him:
Tyler Soderstrom is a 2020 C/3B/OF with a 6-2 190 lb. frame from Turlock, CA who attends Turlock. Athletic build with good present strength and room for more. Left handed hitter, hits from a spread slightly open stance with a deep hand load, gets his lower half involved well, has strong and quick hands and creates bat speed, swings with intent, line drive swing plane with some lift out front, ball comes off the barrel hard, high contact swing with bat speed, plus hitter for a catcher and left handed, too. 6.86 runner, has athletic actions behind the plate and moves well side to side, tends to stand up to throw but has a quick exchange and release, solid arm strength. Well rounded all around catcher whose offensive potential stands out at the position. Father, Steve, was the sixth pick in the 1993 draft and pitched in the big leagues.
The MLB Draft will take place June 11-12 and we’ll see what happens with Soderstrom and if he does get nabbed with a first-round pick, but also if he does ultimately decide to go the minor league route or if he does indeed head to UCLA for his collegiate baseball experience.