Padres’ Austin Hedges Finding A Groove In Low Class A

The Padres ponied up a $3 million bonus to sign catcher Austin Hedges as their second-round pick at last year’s signing deadline, in part because the young backstop’s defensive acumen belied his age. There was some debate about his offensive upside, but Hedges’ bat has been the story so far in his first full season with low Class A Fort Wayne.

The 19-year-old Hedges went 2-for-4 with a homer and a stolen base for Fort Wayne against Peoria on Monday. Hedges missed 10 days with a sore right shoulder in April, but he has hits in all five games since his return on April 26 and has raised his line to .319/.396/.553 after 47 at-bats, with two homers and five doubles.

Peoria speedster Zeke DeVoss stole two bases against Hedges on Monday, but he’s still thrown out a solid 30-percent of base stealers (9-of-30) despite the shoulder issues, owing to his spotless mechanics behind the plate.