Austin Hedges
Austin Hedges
28-Year-Old CatcherC
Cleveland Indians
2021 Fantasy Outlook
Hedges is as terrific defensively as he is brutal offensively. Simply put, he just cannot hit. Sure, he can punish a hanging breaking ball or a poorly-located fastball out of the yard with his raw power, but his overall offensive approach is beyond terrible. His swinging-strike rate was an acceptable 9.3%, yet his strikeout rate was three times higher than that -- a "feat" he shared with Jason Kipnis, Jacob Stallings and Phil Gosselin in 2020. We're talking about a player with a career slash line of .198/.255/.356! The defense will give him more plate appearances than his bat deserves, and an argument could be made to allow the DH to hit for Hedges rather than for the pitcher. National League pitchers hit .131 as a league in 2019, so it isn't as far-fetched as you might think. Do whatever you can to keep this guy away from your roster. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#600
ADP
$Signed a one-year, $3.28 million contract with the Indians in January of 2021.
Day off Saturday
CCleveland Indians
May 15, 2021
Hedges is not in the lineup Saturday against the Mariners.
ANALYSIS
Hedges is 3-for-12 over his past four games and will receive a breather Saturday in Seattle. Rene Rivera will be the catcher for Triston McKenzie.
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Batting Stats
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2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
4
8
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
4
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2019
 
 
+26%
OPS vs RHP
2021
 
 
+31%
OPS vs RHP
2020
 
 
+37%
OPS vs RHP
2019
 
 
+23%
OPS vs RHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2019vs Left .455 124 7 2 11 2 .132 .238 .217
Since 2019vs Right .572 361 32 14 35 0 .178 .243 .329
2021vs Left .357 15 1 1 1 0 .071 .071 .286
2021vs Right .468 41 3 1 3 0 .162 .225 .243
2020vs Left .422 25 0 0 1 1 .136 .240 .182
2020vs Right .579 57 7 3 5 0 .152 .231 .348
2019vs Left .479 84 6 1 9 1 .143 .265 .214
2019vs Right .587 263 22 10 27 0 .186 .248 .339
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2019
 
 
+25%
OPS on Road
2021
 
 
+16%
OPS on Road
2020
 
 
+11%
OPS on Road
2019
 
 
+32%
OPS on Road
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2019Home .479 230 13 4 11 1 .164 .238 .242
Since 2019Away .600 256 26 12 35 1 .169 .244 .356
2021Home .399 19 2 0 2 0 .176 .222 .176
2021Away .461 37 2 2 2 0 .118 .167 .294
2020Home .495 41 3 1 2 1 .162 .225 .270
2020Away .549 42 4 2 4 0 .125 .237 .313
2019Home .484 170 8 3 7 0 .163 .243 .242
2019Away .639 177 20 8 29 1 .189 .261 .377
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Stat Review
How does Austin Hedges compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
BB/K
0.14
 
BB Rate
5.4%
 
K Rate
37.5%
 
BABIP
.179
 
ISO
.118
 
AVG
.137
 
OBP
.185
 
SLG
.255
 
OPS
.440
 
wOBA
.189
 
Exit Velocity
75.3 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
21.9%
 
Barrels/PA
3.6%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Batted Ball Stats
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Stats Vs Upcoming Pitchers
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Austin Hedges
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
9 days ago
Erik Siegrist sifts through the free-agent options in the AL as Nate Pearson gets set to rejoin the Blue Jays rotation.
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38 days ago
Todd Zola offers some thoughts on early-season trends, including the home run surge led by Nick Castellanos and the Reds.
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52 days ago
Chris Liss takes stock of his seven fantasy baseball rosters which include five shares of Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.
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253 days ago
Juan Pablo Aravena breaks down Monday's Royals at Indians game for Dream11 contests.
AL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
254 days ago
Erik Siegrist reviews the fallout from the trade deadline and notes that Michael Pineda could be a big piece of the rotation puzzle for the Twins down the stretch.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Hedges was worth close to 1.5 fWAR in 2019 despite a dismal .176/.252/.311 batting line, which speaks to how highly his defense grades out. His strikeout rate shot up to a career-high 31.4% and, to put it kindly, he did not make the most of his limited contact. Hedges' hard-hit rate and average exit velocity both ranked in the bottom 18th percentile of the league. His .266 xwOBA ranked 399th out of 451 players with at least 100 PA. He's gotten extremely pull-happy in recent seasons, adding to the reasons to be skeptical about him ever panning out as more than a glorified backup. That said, Hedges is still only 27 years old, he was once a highly-rated prospect and his pop times and framing are elite. A change of scenery and move to a more favorable home park could help. He should be left over in the freebie bin in two-catcher leagues as long as he remains in San Diego.
Hedges does some things well and some things poorly. The 26-year-old is one of the premier pitch framers in the major leagues, and has a strong and accurate throwing arm behind the plate. He also has legitimate in-game power, as evidenced by his 32 combined home runs over the past two seasons. Hedges' .198 ISO ranked sixth among all catchers with at least 300 plate appearances. However, that power comes with a lot of swing and miss. He trimmed his strikeout rate a bit in 2018 but it was still 27.6%, and those contact issues make him a big batting-average liability. According to Statcast, Hedges' xBA was a mere .212, so it could have been a lot worse in 2018. The catcher position is so bad that Hedges is certainly relevant, but he needs the playing time to accumulate counting stats. As things stand, Hedges will likely be in a timeshare with Francisco Mejia in San Diego. His outlook would brighten with a trade.
Hedges took over as the Padres' primary catcher in 2017, playing 120 games and retaining some of the home-run gains he brought to the table at Triple-A El Paso in 2016. Unfortunately, top-level pitching nearly doubled Hedges' strikeout rate from his Triple-A mark, as he fanned 29.3 percent of the time last season. Not surprisingly, Hedges' batting average tumbled to .214, and his low walk rate (5.5 percent) kept him from being more of an asset to the San Diego lineup. One thing working in his favor, however, is that his defense will continue to afford him a lot of playing time. Moreover, Hedges' development of game power took several years as he advanced through the system, but strikeouts were never an overwhelming issue for him throughout his time as a prospect. At 25, he may not be a completely finished project as a hitter, but expecting more than a .230-.240 average and 20 homers is likely a stretch.
Always lauded for his ability behind the plate as a defense-first catching prospect, Hedges had a breakout at Triple-A El Paso in 2016 with a surge of power (21 homers) and a strong .326/.353/.597 line before he was promoted to San Diego in September. With Derek Norris in tow, the Padres were hesitant to leave Hedges on the Opening Day roster as a backup, and the decision to give him regular playing time at Triple-A appears to have paid off. Hedges has benefited from his time in the Pacific Coast League by playing half of his games at El Paso over the past two seasons, but his career .326/.361/.583 line at Triple-A suggests that he has nothing left to prove in the minors. The Padres certainly must have thought so, as they dealt Derek Norris to the Nationals to clear the path for Hedges to become the team's workhorse backstop. His developing power and low strikeout rate (career 16.6 percent in the minors) make him a useful cheap option in two-catcher formats.
Hedges was called up on May 5 and was with the big league club the rest of the way, working primarily in a backup role. Offensively, there is a lot of room for improvement, which is not a surprise because he is a defense-first catcher. With elite skills behind the plate, the Padres don't need to be overwhelmingly concerned about his output with the bat. As long as Derek Norris remains in San Diego, the Padres will likely lean on Hedges to spell him as a backup seeing approximately a start or two per week.
Hedges spent all of 2014 at Double-A San Antonio, where questions have surfaced regarding his ability to hit upper level pitching. Just 22, defense has been the calling card for Hedges to this point in his development, and he may continue advancing through the San Diego system even after posting a sub-.600 OPS in the Texas League last season. While he will carry plenty of value to the Padres regardless of his offensive ceiling, owners hoping to lock up a quality bat at a scarce position in dynasty leagues may want to look elsewhere. At his peak, Hedges could have enough power to push double-digit home runs annually, but it may come with a low average. He has all of the tools to be a premier defensive player upon arrival, which could afford him more regular playing time than his bat is actually ready for. Hedges will likely begin 2015 at Triple-A El Paso, but he should get his first look in the big leagues before the end of the season.
Hedges, one of the top catching prospects in baseball, reached the Texas League as a 20-year-old this past season. In 86 games between High-A Lake Elsinore and Double-A San Antonio, he combined to post a .260 average with four homers, 38 RBI, 38 runs, eight steals, and a 28:54 BB:K ratio. If his skill set as a hitter wasn't enough, he's thrown out 32 percent (87-of-269) of potential basestealers in his two-plus minor league seasons. If all goes as planned, he should reach Triple-A Tucson at some point in 2014.
A 2011 second-round draft pick, Hedges is a defensive minded catcher still working his way through the Padres' minor league system. The fact that his glove is his main strength should only help to speed up his timetable to the majors. Last season, the Padres thought so highly of him they sent him to Low-A Fort Wayne for the full season, where hit .279/.334/.451 with 10 homers over 373 plate appearances. At High-A Lake Elsinore of the California League, his numbers should spike as the ball is known to carry in those parks. Only 20 years old, Hedges needs time to develop his bat and hone all the skills that are required to play catcher at the major league level. Keep him in mind, when you're thinking about prospects with long-term upside.
More Fantasy News
Riding pine Wednesday
CCleveland Indians
May 12, 2021
Hedges isn't starting Wednesday against the Cubs.
ANALYSIS
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Filling in for injured Perez
CCleveland Indians
May 5, 2021
Hedges will start at catcher and bat ninth Wednesday against the Royals.
ANALYSIS
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Nabs second home run
CCleveland Indians
May 1, 2021
Hedges went 1-for-3 with a home run and a strikeout Saturday as Cleveland lost to Chicago 7-3.
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Struggling in limited time
CCleveland Indians
April 28, 2021
Hedges has gone 2-for-20 (.100) in his first seven games.
ANALYSIS
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Crushes solo homer
CCleveland Indians
April 4, 2021
Hedges went 1-for-4 with a solo homer in Sunday's victory over the Tigers.
ANALYSIS
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