The 2020 Major League draft will be held on June 10-12 (we don’t know if the dates will change yet), with the Pittsburgh Pirates making the seventh overall pick on day one of the event. They also have the 31st and 44th overall picks that day. Each Saturday, we will take an in depth look at one prospect who could be a good fit for that seventh overall pick, as well as another who rates a little lower and fits better with those two lower picks. In case you missed it, here’s our draft preview article.
We have posted five Draft Prospect Watch articles so far, which are linked here:
This is part three of our look at possible help for the Pirates, who don’t have a top 50 catching prospect in their system at this time. Part one was the international catchers from the DSL and the 2019-20 signing class. Part two was a look at the top two college catchers in this draft class. Today we look at the top two high school catchers, Tyler Soderstrom and Drew Romo. We will still have our normal Saturday Draft Prospect article this week.
Here are the rankings of these two backstops by Fangraphs, Baseball America and MLB Pipeline:
Fangraphs: Romo 29, Soderstrom 33
BA: Soderstrom 22, Romo 23
Pipeline: Soderstrom 17, Romo 26
We start with Tyler Soderstrom, since he has a slightly higher average ranking for those three sources. He stands in at 6’2″, 190 pounds and he turned 18 back in late November. He’s a lefty hitter with a commitment to UCLA.
Drew Romo is known for his defense, while Soderstrom is known for his bat. Soderstrom has a strong arm, but the rest of his defensive game is below average right now, and there are questions as to whether he can stick behind the plate. He’s very athletic and comes from good bloodlines, with his dad spending some brief time in the majors as a pitcher. His dad also attended the same high school in California.
The bat here is the carrying tool, especially since he stepped up his offense in the last year to separate himself from other high school catchers in this class. Soderstrom gets a 60 grade for his hitting, with an approach that uses the entire field. He also has average power now, with the ability to tap into more as he fills out. He has a great approach at the plate and makes consistent hard contact.
If he doesn’t stick at catcher, then he’s going to be able to slide into other positions. He has played some third base and outfield. The arm and athleticism play up around the diamond, and he has decent speed for a catcher. You would want to develop him as a catcher if possible, but he won’t be relying on his defense to get him to the majors. The bat should play up anywhere in the field.
Here’s a video from Prospect Live
Here’s a second video from Prospect Pipeline, which starts off with some defensive drills
Drew Romo stands in at 6’1″, 205 pounds and attends The Woodlands HS, which is the same school that produced Jameson Taillon. Romo is a switch-hitter, who turns 19 at the end of August. He has a commitment to LSU.
Romo is considered by some to be the best defensive catcher in this draft class, which is impressive praise for a high school player. Both his fielding and arm get 60 ratings from MLB Pipeline and he has Gold Glove potential. He gets strong reports in every aspect of defense, including his work with pitchers and baseball IQ. Basically, he’s going to stick behind the plate and add value.
The questions here are about the bat. He has raw power from both sides of the plate, but there are questions about whether he will hit enough as a pro. He had a strong run this past summer and that gave scouts a little more confidence. MLB Pipeline gave him a 45 ranking for his hitting and actually said he could be a .260 hitter with 12-15 homers per season. If you’re getting those numbers from a Gold Glove catcher, then you’re in a good position behind the plate. His better side at the plate is left-handed, which is a good sign, since he’s going to be seeing many more right-handed pitchers. Romo runs well for a catcher, so at least at this point, he won’t clog the bases.
Here’s a video of Romo from 2080 Baseball
Here’s one from Donald Boyles, which includes game action