Image: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
2021 season age: 28
Bats: Right; Throw: Right
2021 stats: 69 AB .145/.213/.290 – 3 HR, 6 RBI, OPS+ 43, WAR -0.3
2020 year in review: Cleveland traded for Austin Hedges as part of the big return they got for sending Mike Clevinger, Greg Allen and Matt Waldron for the Padres. He came in and served as the back up, well, more back up to the back up, Sandy Leon, as he played sparingly in 2020 in Cleveland. For the year he fell out of favor in San Diego as well as they acquired multiple backstops and he hit just .145/.213/.290 with both clubs with just three homers and six RBI.
Offensive impact: Hedges bat has major boom and bust material. He has not hit above Mendoza line for his career average at .198. Meanwhile he has hit 49 homeruns, hitting 18 and 14 in 2018 and 2019, respectively. He has a career ISO (Isolated power = SLG% minus batting average) of .158. He has cracked a total of 94 XBH in 1244 career at bats. Hedges has a career -0.7 oWAR and a career OPS+ 64. Hedges strikeouts 28.8% of his at bats; while only walking 6.3% of the time. He swings and misses a lot but on the rare occasion he makes contact its either a XBH or HR.
Defensive Impact: Hedges has been well known since being called up to the major leagues as one of the best catchers with framing ability in the major leagues. Hedges even has a video on YouTube called “The artwork of framing” which while his bat leaves much to be desired, he continues to get major league playing time by being a pitchers best friend. He was well known in Padres organization for his blocking skills as well. Hedges has 56 defensive runs saved in his career and 54.5 runs saved due to framing. Hedges has also thrown out 75 of 263 base stealers in his career.
2021 role: Hedges will back up Roberto Perez this season and will roughly play 1-2 games a week, and most likely be assigned with a specific starting pitcher. He will hit the occasional homerun and double, but his ultimate value is behind the plate. He’s 28 and has been in majors for six seasons and will just add some veteran depth to tribe roster.
Fantasy impact: He has not had enough offensive impact with his bat to make a contribution to most fantasy teams. He swings and miss a lot. Stay away.