4 role players who are making a difference for the Cleveland Guardians on the field and 2 who aren't

Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians
Oakland Athletics v Cleveland Guardians / Jason Miller/GettyImages
7 of 7

Austin Hedges: Early Season Dud At Plate, Clubhouse Difference-Maker

2024 stats: .120/.115/.160 slash line, one double, and one stolen base

The early season performance of Austin Hedges would fall in the complete opposite end of the spectrum as the previously mentioned Gabriel Arias. Anyone and everyone was expecting a very low amount of production from Hedges at the plate this season, and the early returns have fallen in line with what was projected.

Hedges has just three hits in 25 at-bats with 10 strikeouts and has failed to reach base via a walk. Although one of his three hits was a double, and he does have three runs driven in so far, one coming on a sacrifice fly. Surprisingly, Hedges has managed to steal a base, an uncommon sight for a catcher of his stature, and that came during Cleveland's 6-3 win over Oakland on Saturday. 

Even though it has been an extremely rough start for Hedges, he is not in jeopardy of losing his spot on the roster. Hedges is the primary backup catcher behind Bo Naylor, with the occasional appearance coming from David Fry. But it goes beyond what he does on the field, as he has proven to be an incredibly valuable veteran presence on the roster. Hedges has made sure that his teammates do not look past a team, as noted in a recent article by Zack Meisel in The Athletic (subscription required). This was missed dearly last season during Hedges' time with two other organizations, and it appears to be aiding the Guardians' cause early on, and it should continue as the season progresses.