Oakland Athletics, SF Giants follow similar strategy in first round

Oakland Athletics, SF Giants (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Oakland Athletics, SF Giants (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The Oakland Athletics and SF Giants both followed a similar strategy in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

There is an old adage in baseball that you can never have enough catching, and both the Oakland Athletics and SF Giants are walking the walk.

The Oakland Athletics and SF Giants each have one of the top catching prospects in baseball in Sean Murphy (MLB.com No. 33) and Joey Bart (MLB.com No. 14), respectively.

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Despite this high-end talent, this did not stop either team from adding to it in the first round of the 2020 MLB Draft.

Of course, the Giants took switch-hitting unicorn Patrick Bailey with the 14th overall pick out of North Carolina State University. I say unicorn because that is how rare switch-hitting catchers are.

Across the Bay, the A’s scooped up Turlock High School catcher Tyler Soderstrom with the 26th overall pick. The fact that the left-handed bat slid to back half of the first round was a mild surprise given that he had been connected to plenty of teams picking before the A’s.

One theory I have is that Soderstrom wants to remain at catcher. This is not based on substance. In fact, the catching prospect took ground balls at third base recently to show he can handle the hot corner as well.

If Soderstrom is committed to catching, then that might have scared off some teams, which may have caused his draft-day slide. Regardless, the Athletics are motivated to bring the 18-year-old through the system as a catcher.

Soderstrom’s staying power is his bat. So long as the bat produces, the Athletics will find a way to pencil him into the lineup. For now, he will see his name in the lineup at catcher.

However, is it a crazy strategy to load up at a position where the Athletics currently have one of the best prospects in baseball? The team across the Bay does not seem to think so.

In addition to this, the Los Angeles Dodgers recently boasted two of the best catching prospects in Will Smith and Keibert Ruiz. Smith has since graduated from prospect status, but Ruiz still ranks as MLB’s seventh-best prospect at the position.

On that same note, the Dodgers ninth-best prospect is also a catcher named Diego Cartaya. Cartaya is an 18-year-old prospect who signed as an international free agent during the 2018 J2 signing period for a whopping $2.5 million.

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Clearly, the Dodgers are willing to allocate significant draft capital and bonus pool space on catchers, so there is a bit of a method to the madness.

The point is, one of the best organizations at scouting and developing prospects over the past ten years believes teams can never have enough catching depth. Both the Giants and A’s are subscribing to this philosophy as well.

Both teams went for the best player available with their first-round pick, and that player happens to play a position where one of each team’s top prospects resides.

It may seem like an odd pick on the surface, but you really can never have enough catching depth. The Athletics are now unusually deep in prospect talent behind the dish.

Next. Oakland Athletics MLB Draft Review: Reports and grades for each pick. dark

The surplus at that position will work itself out in time. The A’s now have too much of a good thing at a premium position, which is a good, long-term problem to have.