Wheat/Chaff Reports Reach End Of Alphabet

If you missed A-R, don’t worry! I, the Eyeball Scout and Wheat/Chaff Director, am here to finish predicting where a group of young A’s players will ultimately land as “makes” or “fakes”. Let’s start with Tyler Soderstrom.

Make no mistake, the A’s need Tyler Soderstrom, their #1 pick from 2020, to perform well. They’ve had their fair share of trade blunders and lackluster results, so they rely on their top picks to make up for the damage. Luckily, Soderstrom’s age, 21, gives him some leeway. When you consider his stats in relation to his age, they look more promising. And looking ahead, he’ll still only be 23, leaving plenty of room for growth and improvement. Despite some weaknesses, Soderstrom has shown potential. His defense behind the plate is surprisingly decent and his batting skills are his strongest asset. It’s not uncommon for impact hitters to struggle initially. However, making projections requires boldness. While Soderstrom has the pedigree, talent, and time on his side, I can’t ignore some worrying qualities. I’ve witnessed many talented players with poor attitudes and refusal to adjust fail when faced with challenges at the highest level. I hope I’m wrong, but caution is necessary when it comes to Soderstrom’s strike zone command, immaturity, and stubbornness. Only time will tell if Soderstrom can overcome these obstacles and mature into the player the A’s need him to be. Verdict: Uncertain

Moving on to Ken Waldichuk. Despite less-than-impressive stats in 2023, there’s more to evaluate when it comes to Waldichuk. Yes, his ERA and walk rate are cause for concern, but let’s delve deeper into his abilities.

Firstly, Waldichuk possesses not one, but three “swing and miss” pitches. His fastball has solid velocity and the ability to deceive batters. His breaking pitch has late break both vertically and horizontally, making it difficult to track. And his changeup, if executed properly, consistently fools batters. I vividly recall a three-pitch at bat in a game at Fenway Park, where Waldichuk showcased his changeup with three perfect executions resulting in swinging strikes. These glimpses show the potential of a pitcher with promising fastball and breaking pitches.

Control is an area of concern for Waldichuk. Walking a batter every other inning won’t lead to success. However, he has shown progress, walking a batter every three innings in the second half of 2023. What hampers him is his inability to recover once he spirals into wildness. If he can overcome this and maintain the progress he made in the second half, he has the potential to be a solid #3 starting pitcher. His delivery and pitch repertoire remind me of Gio Gonzalez, who had a successful career despite early struggles. Waldichuk could follow a similar path if he stays healthy. Verdict: Promising

Be sure to check back for updates on these players and more.


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