The Padres decided to send Austin Hedges to AAA to start the season so he could play everyday and improve his offense. Safe to say he has shown he is ready for the majors.
The Padres probably breathed a slight sigh of relief when he got hurt – if only to delay this good but vexing scenario: what if Hedges was sitting so well they couldn’t in good conscience not bring him back up to the majors?
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Yesterday Hedges homered for the 5th straight game leading AAA El Paso to another victory. It was his 9th homer of the season. In 26 games played for El Paso he has 27 RBI and is hitting .364.
Last year Hedges was called up early to the majors as the backup catcher and struggled at the plate, hitting under .200. In 2015 in El Paso in roughly the same sample set as this year (11 more AB’s this year) he hit .324 but with just 2 home runs.
In 2014 AA San Antonio he hit only .225 with 2 home runs but his defensive prowess rose him up the ranks of the Padres prospect rankings. This year the offense is finally coming together for the catcher who was drafted in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Padres.
His best power season in the minors came in 2012 with Fort Wayne. Then he hit 10 home runs with 56 RBI so he is well on his way to exceeding that number on the year. The question will be if the Padres have room for him.
With the good June Norris is having – it makes it harder both to simply bench Norris – and many would question why the team would trade a player like Norris who is finally performing the way the team expected. Fans of this site love his toughness and grit, a feature that Hedges has yet to show in his abbreviated MLB stints. If Hedges keeps hitting like he is – he may just force the Padres hand on Norris after all.