Now that the San Diego Padres have Francisco Mejia, are the days of Austin Hedges numbered?
The San Diego Padres have acquired the best catching prospect in the game. Newly acquired catching prospect, Francisco Mejia can absolutely mash and will give the Padres options at the catcher position. Across six minor league seasons, Mejia has a slashing line that reads, .291/.345/.444. Mejia certainly offers the necessary firepower needed to build around Wil Myers and Eric Hosmer in the everyday lineup.
Francisco Mejia will challenge Austin Hedges for the everyday catcher’s position. Many thought initially that Mejia could find himself changing positions, but that was immediately shut down as it has been reported that the Padres plan to keep him at the catcher.
Competition for the starting catchers job could bode well for both Hedges and Mejia. Austin Hedges (25) and Francisco Mejia (22) are still young players and have some developing to do. Although a defensive wiz behind the plate, Hedges has shown little progress with the bat as he is batting a mere .205 in 673 at-bats at the major league level. Mejia is the opposite of Hedges as he has almost nothing left to prove in the minor leagues from an offensive standpoint. With that being said, there are still concerns with his glove behind the plate and if he is capable of calling a major league game.
The best way for young players to improve in this game is to have them compete amongst each other. The Padres should not immediately move Mejia to the outfield, nor should they find a trade partner for Hedges. Have the two young studs battle it out and bring out the best in each other. Both should enter spring training next year battling for the starting catcher’s spot and make it as difficult as possible for Andy Green and A.J Preller to make a corresponding move.
The Padres lineup will benefit both with Mejia and Hedges in it. Competition between the two should help further their development and hopefully, both can become assets of the Padres bright future.