8/1/13: The Padres promoted Austin Hedges to Double-A.
Name: Austin Hedges | Position: Catcher| Video: No
Organization: San Diego Padres | Current Team: San Antonio (Double-A)
DOB: August 18, 1992 | Age: 20
Height: 6’1″ | Weight: 190
Draft: Round 2, No. 82, 2011| Bonus: $3,000,000 (via Baseball America)
Games Seen: 5 | Date(s): 7/22 – 7/24; 7/26 – 7/27
Next Year: Double-A | ML Arrival: 2015
Top Class: ML | Risk: Moderate
Physical/Health: Durable catcher’s body with some bulk and athleticism. Not a high maintenance body as some who share the position, but that may be because of age and some athleticism (relatively speaking). Lower body strength.
Hit: Hitting is player’s biggest weakness, with other parts of his game paving the way to the majors. In my 5-game look, player struggled against soft and spin away. Drove the ball with authority at times, but only on fastballs. Doesn’t really have bat speed. Patient at the plate, but didn’t do a good job of getting back into counts. Good swing without ‘miss’; conducive to drive the ball to pull side. Fringe-average future hit tool.
Power: Decent present raw power in batting practice; can drive the ball with authority to pull side. More gap power than over-the-fence. Can create some backspin on balls with loft in swing. Swing is conducive for power and lower body strength helps. Solid-average future power.
Run: Not part of his game. Below-average runner. Not a Molina grade runner, so that’s a positive.
Arm: Excellent arm that plays up even more because of super-quick release. Shuts down the running game and more. Throws out runners not paying attention regularly. Saw a lightening quick throw to first in which he scooped ball in the dirt (with left-handed batter at the plate) and fired to first so quickly the runner fell down trying to recover. 70 present/future arm.
Fielding: No movements of hands; never stabs; nearly perfect of a receiver . Plus pop times that play up because of great arm and quick release. Knows how to call games and handle pitchers. Runs the pitching staff. 70 future defender with a chance for more.
Other: Philosophical questions as to whether catchers develop later offensively, because of how much work they put into the other part of the game (defense), are in play here. Can this player, who possesses great baseball knowledge, become a better hitter once he is seeing the same starters? Defense is elite and a joy to watch. I could watch player receive and call pitches from the side for 9 innings every single game.
Overall: Defense remains the calling card. Will be an elite defender at the next level, but how will the bat develop? I think Hedges can be a .250-.260s hitter with 15 home runs or so. So, as one person told me, he’s more or less a version of Matt Wieters.