San Diego Padres: Austin Hedges’ Offensive Production is Concerning

SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 12: Robbie Erlin
SAN DIEGO, CA - APRIL 12: Robbie Erlin /

San Diego Padres’ Austin Hedges’ offensive production has been hot and cold throughout his career and 2018 has been no different. He will have to step it up at the plate if the Friars will compete in NL West.

Austin Hedges‘ slash line for the San Diego Padres this year is .141/.179/.266. In 64 at-bats, Hedges has struck out on 24 occasions and his OPS is a paltry .445.

He has drawn walks only three times and has two home runs to go with his five RBI. Hedges has also stranded 37 runners on base this season.

The Friars’ last seven games have been disastrous for Hedges. He is hitting .091 with only two hits in 22 at-bats.

Hedges’ pitches per plate appearance (P/PA) is 4.21 which suggests that he is being patient on the plate, however, this does not seem to be translating into offensive production. BtRuns (-6.6) and BtWins (-0.7) for Hedges are well below the league average.

Touted as a top defensive catcher, Austin Hedges will have to improve his productivity with the bat to see extended presence behind the plate.

His game-calling ability alone will not be sufficient to warrant him a place in the starting lineup. By comparison, Buster Posey, the star catcher for the Giants, is hitting .270/.329/.413 for the year.

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Alternate options for San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres would be playing shorthanded if Austin Hedges remains in the lineup but does not start contributing offensively.

With him hitting eighth, preceding the pitcher, there is a good possibility of Padres going three-up/three-down in multiple frames.

The Friars’ front office could make a trade to find a back up hitting option for Austin Hedges.

His current back up option, 37-year-old veteran A.J.Ellis, is no better and is not getting any younger. Ellis is hitting .188 in 16 at-bats.

Rafael Lopez seems to be the best hitting bet at the moment for the Padres. He is hitting well in Triple-A playing for El Paso.

He has a Buster Posey-like slash line of .277/.320/.533. Lopez has eight RBI and has gone deep three times in 47 at-bats. Andy Green must look to insert Lopez into the roster if things don’t improve for Hedgie soon.

Austin Hedges will need to figure ways to contribute offensively to justify the team starting him night after night.

Next: Carlos Asuaje Coming Around

The Friars faithful love the energy and potential that Austin Hedges possesses. However if Padres continue to struggle to put runs on the board, Austin Hedges’ starting spot will be under scrutiny.