(CBS SF)- The Major League Baseball Draft is set for tonight and with it comes the opportunity for the Bay Area teams to make their first round picks. For the Giants, it’s an opportunity to add to a farm system in the middle of the first round, holding the 13th overall pick. The A’s on the other hand are sitting near the end, picking 26th overall.
For the Giants, CBSSports.com expert Mike Axisa sees the team going with catcher Tyler Soderstrom out of Turlock High School. He notes that the Giants have a couple of extra picks this year (#67 and #68) after the 2nd round and a large bonus pool to work with following the losses of starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith in free agency.
If Soderstrom is the selection, it would mark the first time that a high school catchers has been selected in the Top 20 since 2015, when the Reds selected Tyler Stephenson 11th. According to CBSSports.com expert R.J. Anderson, Soderstrom could be moved out from behind the plate as their is a mixed opinion on what his best position may be.
“Soderstrom has a strong arm, but he’s a work-in-progress in other ways. Besides, his offensive upside is such that moving him to another position could free up his bat and hasten his arrival.”- R.J. Anderson
While the CBSSports.com crew expects the Giants to go the high school route with Soderstrom, the A’s are likely to dip into the college ranks at No. 26. For the pick, Axisa has the Athletics taking Baylor shortstop Nick Loftin. The 6’1 180 pounder from Corpus Christi, Texas hit .316 with 14 homers and 92 RBI in his career with the Bears. He showed solid discipline at the plate as well, walking nearly as many times as he struck out (42-48).
Anderson has Loftin ranked as the 29th best prospect in this year’s class and says really the only question about him is his power, which grades as “below-average”. Though he does note that Loftin has more versatility than simply playing shortstop offering the opportunity to fill in where needed within the organization.
We’ll find out if the board falls this way tonight when the MLB Draft begins at 4pm PST on MLB Network and ESPN.