A.J. ANDREW JAY HINCH
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Nickname:   N/A Position:   MANAGER
Home: Scottsdale, AZ Team:   ASTROS
Height: 6' 2" Bats:   R
Weight: 205 Throws:   R
DOB: 5/15/1974 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: N/A  
Birth City: Waverly, IA
Draft: A's #3 - 1996 - Out of Stanford Univ. (Calif.)
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
1997 CAL MODESTO     333 70 103 25 3 20 73 8   42 68     .309
1997 PCL EDMONTON     125 23 47 7 0 4 24 2           .376
1998 AL A'S $170.00 120 337 34 78 10 0 9 35 3   30 89     .231
1999 AL A'S $230.00 76 205 226 44 4 1 7 24 6   11 41     .215
1999 PCL VANCOUVER   15 61 9 23 3 0 2 7 1   3 12     .377
2000 PCL SACRAMENTO   109 417 65 111 23 2 6 47 5   45 67     .266
2000 AL A'S   6 8 1 2 0 0 0 0 0   1 1     .250
2001 AL ROYALS $260.00 45 121 10 19 3 0 6 15 1   8 26     .157
2001 PCL OMAHA   45 168 28 54 14 0 10 33 1   11 33     .321
2002 AL ROYALS $260.00 72 197 25 49 7 1 7 27 3   18 35     .249
2003 IL TOLEDO   55 185 20 48 15 1 4 23 0   13 38     .259
2003 AL TIGERS   27 74 7 15 3 1 3 11 0   3 18     .203
2004 IL SCRANTON   77 265 21 61 9 1 2 32 0   24 48     .230
2004 NL PHILLIES   4 11 1 2 1 0 0 0 0   0 4     .182
2005 IL SCRANTON   85 269 30 75 15 2 3 44 0   22 45     .279
2005 NL PHILLIES                                
Personal
  • Hinch graduated with a 4.0 grade average in high school where he was the starting quarterback and pitched some for the baseball team.
  • Early in his pro career, A.J. spent a lot of his free time reading books, like "The Mental Game of Baseball," and "Men At Work."
  • Hinch's father, Dennis, suddenly died of a heart attack on Feb. 8, 1993.
  • He turned down loads of money from the White Sox when they picked him #2 in June 1992. He went to Stanford University instead. And he passed up on the Twins when they picked him #3 in June 1995, turning down $225,000. He preferred being captain of the U.S. Olympic team.

  • In 1996, after graduating from Stanford, he signed with the A's, who had picked him in the third round. His bonus was $125,000.

  • In 1997, A.J. was 2nd in the California League in slugging (.583).
  • During the offseason before 2000 spring training, Hinch worked with noted fitness guru Mark Verstegen in Phoenix. A.J. wanted to increase his athleticism and increase body control. Verstegen worked with Nomar Garciaparra when he was in the Red Sox minor league system and did wonders for him. Hinch said he was doing it to improve his entire career, not just the 2000 season. "I want to be the best that I can be," he said.
  • In 2002, A.J.'s wife, Erin, contributed to a cookbook the wives of Royals' players put together for charity.

  • A.J. and Erin celebrated the birth of their first child, Haley Kristen, September 25, 2002.
  • A lot of baseball people see A.J. as a future high-level executive with a team. He is able to comprehend information very quickly. In November, 2003, Alan Schwarz, senior writer for Baseball America wrote: "What he offers most is one heck of a head on his shoulders, one that soaks up information and experience and fits all the gears together into the whirring machine of his mind. He has the same crackling intelligence, charisma, and drive that another former journeyman, name of Billy Beane, had in 1990 when he gave up playing in his late 20s to join the Athletics front office. They even look and sound eerily similar."

    Schwarz also mentioned how A.J. is "realistic rather than emotional. He can take different views of things." During the offseason, Hinch monitors the transaction wire after the season as keenly as the standings during it, to see how GMs are putting together their clubs, whether they allocate their budgets toward a No. 4 starter or an arbitration-eligible shortstop.

  • A.J. will certainly stay in the game after his playing career. A few teams have Hinch in mind for front office positions, according to rumors.

  • The Astros hired a 40-year-old A.J. Hinch immediately following the end of the 2014 season as their next manager, giving him a team with a mix of veterans, a promising young core, and some impressive newcomers as they try to get back to contention.

    Hinch, who has a psychology degree from Stanford and has done just about everything you can do in baseball, has spoken openly about being better prepared for the opportunity than he was when he managed the D-backs in 2009-10. (McTaggart - mlb.com - 4/1/15)

  • A.J.'s mom, Becky, has been her son's biggest fan for over 40 years. That was true when he was a two-sport start in high school in Oklahoma and when he played in the Major Leagues for seven seasons, and it remained true when he was a baseball executive with the D-backs and Padres.

    Now that Hinch has found success in his second act as a Major League manager with Houston, his mother remains as much of a positive influence on him as ever. Hinch said his mother keeps up with the games from her home in Midwest City, Okla.

    "I get a text message from her after good games, and she continues to be one of the greatest Astros fans out there," he said.

    "I didn't know how much my mother went through losing my dad until later in life when you have your own kids, own marriage," Hinch said of when his dad died suddenly died of a heart attack in 1993, his freshman season at Stanford. "My mom was married very young. She lost her husband at a very young age, and she's persevered to continue to be an influence for her grandkids and her kids. She's a very lovable woman, and she loves being around baseball. She's the biggest  support system you could ask for."

    When Hinch was growing up in Oklahoma, his mother made sure he was everywhere he needed to be when it came to sports. If that meant driving long distances for a tournament or a practice, she did it without hesitation.

    She was there to pat Hinch on the back and make sure he was loved when things weren't going well, or to keep him in check when he was worrying more about baseball than he was science. As it turned out, he flourished in both the classroom and on the field. Hinch was a three-time All-American, and he earned a psychology degree from Stanford.

    "There wasn't a tournament she wouldn't take us to, there wasn't a practice she wouldn't sign me up for," Hinch said. "That kind of love and support, she wanted me to be happy. She knew baseball was part of it. She moved to Stanford with me when I was in college after I lost my dad, and she has remained my biggest fan through baseball and through life. She's a great woman who's gone through a lot."

    So when Hinch made his Major League debut as a player with the Oakland A's on April 1, 1998, going 0-for-3, mother and son shared perhaps the most important memory in a life filled with so many.

    "I was a young player right out of college and had her in town to see her son," Hinch said. "We both missed my dad at that time. We both knew it was a lifelong goal for me and my family to be able to get to the Major Leagues, and to share that time with her brought tears to everyone's eyes because of all the work and all the things both of us went through to get to that point." (Brian McTaggart - MLB.com - 5/09/15)

  • A.J. was named to the Pac-12 All-Century Baseball Team.  The former Stanford catcher was one of three catchers named to the 30-man team by a 36-member panel. The team is made up of 20 position players and 10 pitchers, including former Astros and Southern California left-hander Randy Johnson.

    TRANSACTIONS

  • June 1996: He was drafted in the third round, out of Stanford, and signed by the A's.
  • January 2001: The Royals sent OF Johnny Damon and INF Mark Ellis to the A's to acquire A.J., P Roberto Hernandez, and INF Angel Berroa.
  • December 22, 2002: Hinch signed with the Indians.
  • March 29, 2003: The Tigers sent a player to be named to the Indians, acquiring A.J.
  • January 2004: Hinch signed with the Phillies' organization.
Batting

      PLAYING CAREER NOTES

  • A.J.'s bat speed was only average at best. He was better at contact, better at handling breaking balls and better at covering the outer one-third of the plate
  • He had good, but not great power. But he loved a fastball. Thus, pitchers fed him a lot of breaking pitches away.
  • Hinch can make good contact and hit the ball into the gaps. He hits breaking balls pretty well. But good Major League heat? He had trouble getting around on it, lacking the bat speed.

  • Hinch was a decent catcher with an excellent arm, but his release was inconsistent. Part of that is due to a chronically sore shoulder.
  • A.J. called a good game. He had a fine, studious approach to the game and quick feet. He is a leader, with a take-charge attitude and excellent instincts and intelligence. And A.J. always builds a strong relationship with his pitching staff, building their trust.

    "You have to deal with pitchers on an individual basis. They're all such different guys, and a catcher has to know how to push their buttons to get them going," Hinch said. He called a game like a long-time veteran.

  • In 1997, Hinch set a standard for fielding percentage behind the plate at .996 for the California League, making just 3 errors in 683 chances.
  • In 1998, he threw out 34% of attempting base-stealers, 7th-best in the American League. But that fell off in 1999 when he was not very effective in throwing out runners.

    In 2003, A.J. only caught 3 of 26 attempting base-theives, a very poor 12 percent.

  • Calling a game was Hinch's forte. Or at least that, and a strong relationship with his pitchers. He got the most out of them.

    "My job as a catcher is to make them the best pitcher that they are. The only way is to get their trust over time," A.J. said.

Fielding

     

Running

POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS

  • 2006: Hinch became the Diamondbacks' Director of Minor League operations.

    August 10, 2006: The Diamondbacks promoted A.J. to Director of Player Development.

  • May 8, 2009: Hinch replaced Bob Melvin as Manager of the Diamondbacks.  Team G.M. Josh Byrnes actually posed questions himself before reporters had the opportunity.

    "Why so unconventional?" Byrnes said. "Why did we choose A.J.? I'm happy to answer that."

    Byrnes then detailed the thought process behind making Hinch, formerly the club's vice president of player development, and giving him a contract that runs through 2012 despite Hinch never having managed or coached a single professional game.

    Byrnes described Hinch's involvement in upper-level decision-making within the front office over the past three-plus seasons, saying that Hinch's inexperience in the dugout is outweighed by his understanding of the team's philosophy and his "understanding what organizational advocacy is."

    "He's never done a double switch before," Byrnes said. "He knows what it looks like. He'll figure it out. He brings unique leadership and perspective to the job. We're not here to reinvent the wheel. But to change the nature of the job a little bit? OK, we'll do that.

    "A.J. is a leader and connects with people and gets why things are done and obviously is in one of the most prominent spots in our organization."

  • July 1, 2010: The Diamondbacks fired Hinch with the team mired in last place in the NL West for the second straight season, with a 31-48 record.

  • September 12, 2010: A.J. joined the Padres organization as head of their scouting department.

    And September 23, 2011, the Padres announced Hinch had been promoted to V.P/Assistant to the General Manager, while remaining as head of their pro scouting department.

  • August 5, 2014: Hinch announced he was leaving the Padres.

    "During my time in San Diego, I dedicated myself to do everything I could to help this team win, in the short-term and for the long-term. These last several weeks were no exception," said Hinch. "I think the organization is ready for a transition and I've made a decision and told [executive chairman] Ron Fowler and [team president and CEO] Mike Dee that now is the right time for me to move on.

    "I'm proud to have always operated in the best interest of the organization and to have established long-lasting relationships with people who work on and off the field in San Diego. I wish the Padres and the new GM well in the future and look forward to the next chapter of my baseball career."

  • September 29, 2014: A.J. was named manager of the Houston Astros, becoming the 18th dugout leader in the Colt .45s/Astros history.

  • May 2, 2015: In his first month of his first season, Hinch lead the Astros to a surprising 16-7 first-place record. (Editor's note: In 2015, the Astros made the playoffs, another surprise.)

  • March 8, 2016: The Astros extended A.J.'s contract for an undisclosed term, but team owner Jim Crane said that Hinch "will be here a while." 
  • April 18, 2016: Astros manager A.J. Hinch was named to the Pac-12 All-Century Baseball Team.
Career Injury Report
  • April 16, 1998: Hinch suffered a concussion while sliding trying to catch a foul ball near the A's dugout in Oakland's game vs. the Royals. The ball hit him in the right temple and lost consciousness briefly.
  • July 18-August 3, 2003: A.J. was on the D.L. with a pulled left groin.
  • August 6-31, 2003: Hinch was back on the D.L. after reinjuring that left groin.