Catchers are scarce throughout the major leagues. Especially ones that can hit and play defense. That’s one of the things that make guys like Buster Posey and Jonathan Lucroy so important to their clubs. If you’ve got a good defensive catcher who can even hit a little bit, it’s a bonus.
MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer, broke down eight young catchers who are starting to make a name for themselves. Some are already established like Salvador Perez. Some just got to the majors like Red Sox prospect Christian Vasquez. Then there’s Padres’ prospect Austin Hedges who appears on this list. Let’s see what Spencer said.
"San Diego had a plan when it dealt dependable Rene Rivera to the Rays and Yasmani Grandal to the Dodgers while acquiring Derek Norris from the Athletics. The Padres are clearing a place, when he’s ready, for Hedges, widely regarded to be the game’s premier catching prospect defensively. Hedges, who will be 23 in August, has power and figures to be the Padres’ leader behind the plate for years to come."
Well, with Norris in the fold right now, Hedges has more time to develop. His bat is certainly in question.
To Spencer’s point on Hedges having power, I’m not quite sure that’s correct. Last year his OPS was .589. In Double-A ball, he did have 10 homers and 28 doubles, but since he moved up, the power hasn’t traveled with him. If his bat travels with him, the Padres can move Norris to first base, maybe even towards the end of the year. If his bat doesn’t travel, then he’s going to end up as Norris’ backup.
The Padres hope Hedges becomes their Posey. Their Lucroy. If he doesn’t hit, he’ll be their generic backup catcher. Time will tell.
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