The San Diego Padres made their second Bay Area selection of the 2011 MLB Draft as they selected catcher Austin Hedges out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo. There seems to be some agreement that he is probably the best defensive catcher in this year's draft as he has the footwork, arm strength and generally ability to handle a staff to take his game to the next level.
His primary issue is that his bat lags behind his glove and needs to clean up his swing if he's going to step up his game. Hedges has committed to UCLA and it is believed he will be a hard one to sign out of his college commitment. Additionally, as Keith Law said in the first link above, three seasons of college ball could prove extremely beneficial to developing Hedges' bat for the next level. It will be interesting to see if the Padres are able to convince him otherwise.
Hedges' draft status reminds me of some ways of Yasmani Grandal's in 2007 -- Grandal could catch and throw (and in fact called his own games), but scouts questioned the bat due to weak competition. Hedges doesn't have Grandal's bat potential, but is a better defender, and should end up a first-rounder in 2014 if he doesn't sign this year once he cleans up his swing.
We'll be here for the next three days covering the 2011 MLB Draft for the San Francisco Giants, the Oakland Athletics, and Bay Area baseball products. For more in-depth discussion about the Giants head to McCovey Chronicles. For more on the A's head over to Athletics Nation. For more general minor league and draft discussion, check out Minor League Ball and Baseball Nation.