Hedges Heading to San Antonio
In a move that comes as a mild surprise, the San Diego Padres have promoted catching prospect Austin Hedges to Double-A San Antonio, tweets Corey Brock of MLB.com. Hedges, who is known for his defensive prowess behind the plate, leaves the hitter-friendly California League behind with a .263/.338/.404 slash line and a 97 wRC+.
The move comes as a bit of a surprise because Hedges was far from dominating the California League offensively, as evidenced by his slightly below-average wRC+. Given his defensive abilities as a catcher, generally regarded as the best in the minor leagues, that kind of offensive production will be more than enough to make Hedges an above-average starting catcher in the majors, but it's his bat that needs the developmental time and to jump him at this point in the season, when he's likely to start their next season regardless. This move, however, could allow him to spend just part of next season there and expedite his time to the majors, where he's already ready to play defensively.
O'Neill Walks His Way to Triple-A
A personal favorite of mine, Mike O'Neill has been promoted to Triple-A by the Cardinals, he tweeted today. The 25-year-old former 31st round pick leaves Springfield behind with a unique .320/.431/.384 slash line and a 139 wRC+.
O'Neill is a personal favorite because he's turned himself from a non-prospect to, at the very least, a noteworthy potential role player simply based on his plate discipline. Despite hitting for no power (three career minor league home runs), O'Neill simply refuses to give in to opposing pitchers and repeatedly draws walks at close to a 3-to-1 rate compared to his strikeouts. This profile limits him as an offensive player, and he doesn't have great speed and would have to play a corner outfield spot on defense, but a player who avoids making outs at this rate and with this level of consistency is worth watching.
With a crowded outfield in St. Louis and more outfield options on the way, it would be nice to see O'Neill included in a deal at the trade deadline, should the Cardinals decide to make a move.