San Diego Padres: Austin Hedges Has to Be Utilized Differently

It’s becoming clear that Austin  Hedges is only going to add defensive value for the San Diego Padres and that’s how he should be used.

I understand we’re not even a week into the 2020 season for the San Diego Padres, but let’s not act like we haven’t known this for a while — Austin Hedges can’t hit.

He wasn’t a great hitter in the minors even when he was a top prospect, and he’s never hit in the big leagues and we’re looking at almost a 400 game sample size.

Hedges does one thing exceptionally well, and that’s catch a baseball. If it weren’t for that he wouldn’t even be on a Major League roster right now.

I’m not trying to downplay what Hedges does, in fact, I probably think he’s more valuable to the team than most, but I just think it’s time we give up on the dreams of him contributing much of anything at the plate.

So far this season he’s 0-for-13 with 5 strikeouts. Again, small sample size, but I’ve seen nothing in his swing to tell me a break out is coming.

Instead, manager Jayce Tingler needs to learn how to utilize him correctly.

And the way you do that is to only start him once or twice a week and pair him with pitchers who need a little help getting calls.

Someone like Chirs Paddack, who Hedges caught Wednesday night, doesn’t need a great catcher behind the plate to be successful — he’s good enough on his own.

But someone like Dinelson Lamet who can have some control issues at times might need Hedges to help steal a strike every now and then.

And then I would use Hedges late in games as a defensive replacement.

However, the bigger problem for the Padres right now is that neither of their catchers is hitting.

Francisco Mejia is 0-for-6 in four games with a walk and a strikeout, but he has scored twice.

That’s an even smaller sample size for Mejia who I’d like to see get more reps and play three consecutive days in a row to see if he can get into a groove at the plate.

Next: Tingler's First Mistake

If Hedges is going to be a part of this team, and I still think he should be, then Tingler needs to learn how to utilize him correctly.


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