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Over/Under 2021 Preview: Austin Hedges

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Will Austin Hedges be worth more or less than 0.5 fWAR in 2021?

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Based on ZiPS projections, Austin Hedges is expected to finish 2021 with the following stats:

334 PA, 13 HR, 3 SB, 6.6 BB%, 30.2 K%, .206/.267/.375, 61 wRC+, 0.5 fWAR

Read what our writers think, then vote in the poll below and drop your own opinions in the comments and on the Let’s Go Tribe Discord.

Matt Lyons’s Prediction: UNDER

I may have just written an article about the importance of good defensive catchers, but I’m under no illusion that Austin Hedges is as good as Roberto Pérez, defensively or even at the plate.

ZiPS tries to give Hedges the bulk of the playing time in 2021 but barring some kind of injury or trade, I don’t think that will happen. Even if he does amass the 334 projected plate appearances, I don’t think he lives up to the .206/.267/.375 slash and 13 home runs that ZiPS gives him. There are just too many holes in his offense. The occasional pop is all that carries him (he hit a career-high 18 home runs in 2017 and has had at least 10 homers in three separate seasons), but he’s hindered by a poor approach at the plate and just generally being what you would expect a catcher to be with a bat in their hand.

However, while I don’t think that Hedges can reach 0.5 fWAR, I do think he’ll be more important than whatever WAR he accumulates simply because he is such a great defensive catcher and we still don’t know how to properly value that yet.

Roberto Pérez isn’t going to play every day — he just turned 32 in December and as far as we know he was normal human knees — so Hedges will play an important role over a full 162-game season. Just, hopefully, not one that results in him seeing the plate over 300 times.

Poll

Will Austin Hedges finish 2021 with an fWAR over or under 0.5?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    Over
    (46 votes)
  • 75%
    Under
    (138 votes)
184 votes total Vote Now