Austin Hedges

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Austin Hedges
Austin Hedges.jpg
Hedges with Lake Elsinore Storm 2013
San Diego Padres – No. 18
Catcher
Born: (1992-08-18) August 18, 1992 (age 25)
San Juan Capistrano, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
May 4, 2015, for the San Diego Padres
MLB statistics
(through July 13, 2018)
Batting average .206
Home runs 25
Runs batted in 84
Teams

Austin Charles Hedges (born August 18, 1992) is an American professional baseball catcher for the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball.

Professional career[edit]

Hedges was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft out of JSerra Catholic High School in San Juan Capistrano, California.[1] He had committed to UCLA, but signed with the Padres for $3 million.[2]

Prior to the 2012 season, Baseball America ranked Hedges as the Padres fifth best prospect.[3] Playing for the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the Midwest League, Hedges hit .279/.334/.451 with 10 home runs in 96 games.[4] Scouts considered Hedges to be a stand-out defender who had surprised them with his batting at Class-A.[5][6]

In 2013, MLB.com ranked Hedges the fourth best catching prospect in the minors.[7] He started the year with the Class-A Advanced Lake Elsinore Storm where he hit .270 with four home runs in 66 games. He was promoted to the Double-A San Antonio Missions in August where he hit .224 in 20 games. He was also named to the All-Star Futures Game in 2013.[8]

Hedges received a non-roster invitation to the big league spring training camp for the second time in 2014.[9] He was ranked #27 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list coming into the season.[10] He spent the season with San Antonio, where he hit .225 with 6 home runs over 113 games while throwing out 38% of opposing base runners.

In 2015, Hedges joined the El Paso Chihuahuas of the Class AAA Pacific Coast League.[11] The Padres promoted Hedges to the major leagues on May 4, bringing him up as a back-up to Derek Norris after designating Wil Nieves for assignment.[12] Hedges had hit .324 with 2 home runs in 79 at-bats for the Chihuahuas.[13] On May 6, Hedges notched his first Major League hit, an RBI single in the third inning of a game against the San Francisco Giants.[14] He recorded 137 plate appearances during the 2015 season, hitting for a .168 batting average.[15] In the offseason, Hedges played for the Leones del Escogido of the Dominican Winter League.[16]

Hedges was invited to spring training in 2016, but began the season in El Paso.[17] In April, he suffered a fractured hamate bone in his left hand which required surgery.[18] He returned to the Triple-A club six weeks after the operation and then went on a run where he hit 14 home runs and posted a .395 batting average over a 30-game stretch.[19] He finished the season with a .326/.353/.597 batting line and 21 home runs in his 82 games with El Paso, which was considered a breakout season for a player regarded as a defense-first catcher.[20] Hedges joined the Padres for 8 games in late September after the Triple-A national championship game.[21]

Hedges moved into a role as the Padres regular catcher in 2017, catching 115 games and backed up by Luis Torrens and Héctor Sánchez. Hedges missed two weeks in late July with a mild concussion after taking a foul ball off his mask.[22] On June 19, Hedges was behind the plate when Anthony Rizzo collided with him on a controversial play and knocked him out of the game.[23] He missed two more games but avoided the disabled list. Hedges finished the season with a .214/.262/.398 batting line with 18 home runs in 387 at-bats. Behind the plate, he had a 37% caught stealing rate. His fielding runs above average (26.7) led all catchers, according to Baseball Prospectus, and he ranked second in framing runs.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Padres open Day 2 with high-upside backstop". MLB.com. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Baseball: JSerra's Austin Hedges signs with San Diego Padres". Los Angeles Times. August 15, 2011. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ Eddy, Matt (December 12, 2011). "Baseball America Padres top 2012 prospects". Baseballamerica.com. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Hedges continues to impress in instructional league". MLB.com. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  5. ^ Newman, Mike (March 25, 2013). "Padres Austin Hedges is cerebral and skilled". FanGraphs.com. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Scouting Report: Austin Hedges (C)". Baseball Prospect Nation. October 23, 2012. Archived from the original on March 1, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  7. ^ Pentis, Andrew (June 30, 2013). "Padres' Hedges a keeper at catcher". MILB.com. Retrieved January 19, 2016. 
  8. ^ "Padres prospects Austin Hedges and Yeison Asencio chosen for Futures Game". MLB.com. June 25, 2013. Retrieved November 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ Sanders, Jeff (February 18, 2014). "Hedges, Wisler soaking it all up". UT SanDiego. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  10. ^ "2014 Baseball America Top 100 Prospects: The 25th Edition". Baseball America. February 20, 2014. Retrieved February 22, 2014. 
  11. ^ "El Paso Chihuahuas announce 2015 opening day roster". El Paso Times. Retrieved May 5, 2015. [permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Lin, Dennis. "Padres promote Austin Hedges, DFA Wil Nieves - UT San Diego". U-T San Diego. Retrieved May 5, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Padres call up catching prospect Austin Hedges". SI.com. Sports Illustrated. May 4, 2018. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  14. ^ Lin, Dennis (May 6, 2015). "Hedges 'great' in first major league start". UT San Diego. Retrieved January 19, 2016. 
  15. ^ Miller, Bryce (March 27, 2016). "Austin Hedges red hot — and still likely Triple-A bound". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  16. ^ Pace, Robert (January 21, 2016). "Padres catcher Austin Hedges' painful experience in the Dominican Winter League". Fox Sports. Retrieved May 23, 2016. 
  17. ^ Lin, Dennis (March 5, 2016). "Hedges making strides at the plate". UT San Diego. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  18. ^ Lin, Dennis (April 26, 2016). "Hedges has hamate fracture, will have surgery". UT San Diego. Retrieved May 1, 2016. 
  19. ^ Sanders, Jeff (July 16, 2016). "Timing on healthy Austin Hedges' side". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  20. ^ Clark, James (November 22, 2016). "Padres PNO (Positives Negatives Outlook) Austin Hedges". EastVillageTimes.com. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  21. ^ Lin, Dennis (September 21, 2016). "At last, Padres call up top prospects". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 6, 2018. 
  22. ^ Lin, Dennis (July 18, 2017). "Austin Hedges placed on seven-day concussion disabled list". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 4, 2018. 
  23. ^ Cassavell, AJ (June 20, 2017). "Cubs, Padres don't mince words on collision". MLB.com. Retrieved February 4, 2018. 
  24. ^ Sanders, Jeff (December 26, 2017). "Padres roster review: Austin Hedges". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved February 4, 2018. 

External links[edit]