In case you weren’t paying attention. And we know a lot of you weren’t.

Here at Padres Public, we’re all about the Padres. And beer. But mostly the Padres. When we’re not drinking beer, that is.
So, here’s a weekly feature to whet your appetites: All of the week’s posts in one convenient location. Enjoy!

And always enjoy responsibly. Don’t read and drive.

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While many who read this site are intimately familiar with the Padres’ system – I’m looking at you Padres Prospects readers – we at Padres Public don’t like anyone to feel left out. What follows is a high-level view of sorts of the topics and players you need to be ready to discuss when you and your buddies are sitting around a table enjoying one of San Diego’s finest beverages after Fan Fest.

Austin Hedges is good, and he could be really, really good

It’s easy to get excited about prospects in the low minors. Typically they have shown enough production to believe that their physical tools just may mature into something wonderful, but aren’t quite old enough to expect immediate success.

Hedges is a 2011 draftee that signed for a then second-round record $3 million bonus. He was heralded as the best defensive player in the entire draft by Baseball America and just about everyone else who had either gotten to see him in person or had heard the now urban-legend level stories of his sub-2.0 second pop times.

2012 was Hedges’ first full season of games at the professional level and he more than held his own offensively – .275/.341/.446 – while successfully leading an extremely wild pitching staff.

This offseason Hedges’ name has been bandied about by a few outlets as San Diego’s best overall prospect, and for good reason. He has the potential to be a perennial Gold Glove catcher while putting up above average numbers offensively.  The production bar for catchers has fallen so far that even if Hedges fails to progress, he still has a better than even shot at an MLB career by playing well above average defense.

That being said 2013 will provide an interesting perspective on the Padres’ 20-year-old backstop as he heads to the hitter-friendly California League on his way through the system. Josh Byrnes and Co. have already shown a willingness to push players through the system, so be sure to get out to Lake Elsinore before it’s too late. Read More…