Fernando Tatis Jr. is currently the No. 1 prospect for the San Diego Padres, and for good reason. The son of former MLB third baseman Fernando Tatis, the 20-year-old has baseball bloodlines that run deep, and he’s fully lived up to the hype so far. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an international free agent in 2015 for $700,000, then traded to the Padres in 2016 for James Shields.
Fast forward just over three years later and Tatis Jr. is the No. 2 overall prospect in all of baseball. He’s currently starring for Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican winter league, where he is leading his club deep into the playoffs behind his .267 average, three homers, and 10 RBI’s in the postseason to lead the league currently.
It’s walk-off homers like this one that make it seem very possible he could be a star at the big league level in the very near future:
— LIDOM (@LIDOMRD) January 11, 2019
He’s definitely got the major league bat flip down. But the pure, effortless bat speed as he launches that baseball deep over the left field fence is remarkable. He has extremely quick hands and a very smooth stroke.
Fernando Tatis Jr. Will Be a Star for the San Diego Padres in the Very Near Future
Tatis first broke on the scene in 2017 for the Single-A Fort Wayne Tincaps, becoming the youngest player ever in Midwest League history to hit at least 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a single season at just 18-years-old. He then made the jump straight to Double-A San Antonio in 2018, impressing immediately. Playing against mostly guys on average two-three years older than him, the youngster posted a .286/.355/.507 slash line while hitting 16 home runs with 43 RBI’s in 88 games. His season was cut short because of a thumb injury, but it was still an extremely productive season for the shortstop.
The thing that stands out most with Tatis is his powerful bat. As mentioned above, he has such easy bat speed. He has a very advanced approach at the plate, showing a lot more patience over the past couple years to lay off breaking balls out of the zone and wait for a pitch to drive. He drew 75 walks in 117 games with Fort Wayne back in 2017, a testament to his ability to wait for a good pitch to hit.
Tatis can hit with power to all fields, which is a huge plus. At just 20-years-old, he has not even tapped into his full potential offensively. He’s still growing into his 6-foot-3 frame and will definitely fill out more in the next couple of years. Along with the god-given ability to crush baseballs, he also has very good speed on the basepaths. He has swiped 63 bags in 274 minor league games.
Despite his taller stature, Tatis is an outstanding shortstop who has elite athleticism and a cannon for an arm. He’s made numerous highlight-reel catches where he climbs the ladder to snag line drives or lays out full stretch, showing off his incredible range. He could eventually move over to the hot corner in the future given his size, but if he continues to master his craft at short, he could very well stay there for the rest of his career.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is a five-tool guy who has all the makings of a future All-Star. For how young he is, he is extremely advanced in all aspects of the game and could very well make his major league debut in 2019. The Padres definitely have a star on their hands and their shortstop of the future.
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