Austin Hedges is the fifth best prospect in the Padres organization, and is the 57th rated prospect in Baseball America’s rankings of its top 100 prospects.
However, when it comes to ranking the best Minor League prospect defenders, Hedges is the best at his position, according to a pro scouting director poll on Milb.com, which is documenting the best prospects defenders for its Defensive Gems series.
Padres’ fans have heard how good of a defensive catcher Hedges is, ever since he was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft, now the rest of the baseball world knows, too.
Hedges is the 20-year-old pupil of former Big League catcher and three-time Gold Glove award winner, Brad Ausmus, who works for the Padres as a special assistant to baseball operations.
The Padres’ catcher of the future knows he is the best defensive catching prospect in the Minor Leagues, but admits he still needs to improve behind the plate.
“I am trying to be a little more relaxed behind the plate so that I can receive and block successfully. I’m working on my breathing and being quieter back there.”
Good defensive catchers don’t come a dime a dozen, so Hedges is a unique player.
If Hedges can continue to put up solid offensive production like he did last year at Fort Wayne .279/.334/.451, then he would be the complete package.
The future is bright for this kid.