Prospect rankings primer
Last year's Padres list
The Top Ten
1. Austin Hedges
Height/Weight: 6’1” 190 lbs
Drafted/Acquired: 2nd Round, 2011 draft, Junipero Serra Catholic HS (San Juan Capistrano, CA)
Previous Ranking: #1 (Org), #19 (Top 101)
2013 Stats: .224/.297/.269 at Double-A San Antonio (20 games), .270/.343/.425 at High-A Lake Elsinore (66 games)
The Tools: 6+ arm; 7+ potential glove; 5+ potential hit
What Happened in 2013: After a successful full-season debut in 2013, Hedges took another step forward in 2013, playing his way to the Texas League to finish the regular season, and then showed off his impressive defensive chops in the prospect-heavy landscape of the Arizona Fall League.
Strengths: Near-elite defensive profile behind the plate; plus arm; quick release and accurate; excellent footwork; excellent receiver; strong hands and quick feet; high baseball IQ; excels at game management and battery relationship; good swing at the plate; tracks well; shows good bat speed and strength; has some pop; crazy makeup.
Weaknesses: Can get overly aggressive with the arm (back picks, etc); bat unlikely to achieve big impact; struggles against arm-side stuff; good not great bat speed; can drive the ball but power unlikely to play above average; below-average run.
Overall Future Potential: 7; all-star player
Realistic Role: 6; first-division player
Risk Factor/Injury History: Moderate risk; limited exposure to upper minors; questions about offensive utility.
Bret Sayre’s Fantasy Take: The fact that I’d probably take Hedges seventh or eighth for fantasy purposes says everything you need to know about his defensive potential. Unfortunately, unless you’re in a sim league, he’s just not going to be much more than a borderline use of a farm spot—even if he maxes out and hits around .275 with 15 homers, that’s barely above replacement level in one-catcher leagues. If you can shop him on his name value, do it.
The Year Ahead: Hedges is the best all-around defensive catcher I’ve had the privilege of scouting at the minor-league level, with a strong, accurate arm, quick and coordinated actions, and the in-game management qualities of a seasoned major-league veteran. The glove is going to carry him a long way, but the bat could make him a perennial all-star if he proves to be more than just a tough down-the-lineup out. He has some offensive qualities, with a sound swing and good strength, and it’s not a stretch to envision a .275 hitter with 15 HR pop, a formidable profile given his near elite defensive projections. We were high on Hedges last season (#1 in the org and top 20 overall in the game), and will continue to sing his praises heading into 2014, as he once again takes the top place in the system and will once again find himself ranked among the top 20 prospects in the game.
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