According to MLB.com’s prospect rankings, Austin Hedges is the number one catching prospect in the game. He’s also, according to their rankings, the Padres best prospect. He’s probably the best defensive catcher in the minors. Now why in the world would i say trade him?
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Well, I’m not so sure about his offense, and because of that, it could limit what he becomes at the major league level. Hedges played a full season at Double-A this year and struggled. In 113 games, he hit .225/.268/.321 with six homers and 44 RBI. That is not good enough.
For an organization looking for offense, and one who can’t afford a catcher who can’t hit, having Hedges as the catcher may not make sense.
It’s also not like Yasmani Grandal is an old man. He turns 26 next month and is just getting into his prime. Now, there are all sorts of questions about Grandal’s ability to stay healthy for a full season. In September he seemed to show improvement, but he missed a bunch of time.
The thing about Hedges is what if he struggles in AA again with the bat this year? His trade value will completely plummet. At that point, his ceiling is Jose Molina like.
While Hedges has value, and was a lack of catching around the majors, A.J. Preller could have an interesting trade chip that he can activate to get someone to improve the infield or the outfield.
It may be time to strike while the iron is hot on Hedges and help improve the Padres not only for 2015, but beyond.