A right-handed hitter, Austin Hedges has a short, compact swing geared toward line-drive contact across the entire field. In terms of his approach, Hedges is already adept at working counts in his favor and controls the strike zone better than most players his age.
He doesn’t strike out that often, but his excellent bat-to-ball ability can hinder his selectivity at times and force weak contact. While he’s already an adept low-ball hitter, Hedges does tend to struggle with velocity at the top of the strike zone. However, that could change as he continues to add strength and faces more advanced pitching.
Power has never been Hedges’ thing and probably never will be. That being said, he does have consistent gap pop capable of producing a sizeable doubles total annually. Considering his present strength and feel for the strike zone, there’s a chance that he’ll develop some over-the-fence pop as he matures. Still, it’s doubtful that it will amount to anything more than average power.
Austin Hedges is the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues, without question. Need proof?
Then I suggest you check out this clip (via MLB.com) from Saturday's Fall Stars Game. Despite his age and lack of experience in the high minors, the kid could excel right now behind the dish in the major leagues. He’s seriously that good.
The quickness and efficiency of his footwork is unparalleled among his peers, and his elite catch-and-throw skills, insanely quick transfer and plus arm strength allow him to essentially shut down the running game. Hedges’ pitch framing has continued to improve since turning pro, and he’s drawn endless praise from pitchers and coaches alike. It’s crazy to think that he’s only going to get better.
Hedges’ elite, game-changing chops behind the plate will make him one of the best defensive catchers in the major leagues upon his arrival. There’s simply nothing he can’t do back there. And if the bat continues to develop ahead of schedule, then Hedges has the potential to reach his enormous ceiling as one of the game’s premier catchers.