The San Diego Padres’ top draft pick CJ Abrams wants to stay at shortstop, so what does that mean for current shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr.?
When the San Diego Padres drafted CJ Abrams on Monday, there was plenty of buzz—but there’s also a huge question mark about where, or if, he’ll fit into the Padres roster.
Abrams, who was the Padres’ only first-round pick at No. 6, is a shortstop. But San Diego already has a long-term shortstop in current starter Fernando Tatis Jr.
And Abrams isn’t interested in moving.
Speaking after his name was called at the 2019 MLB Draft, the Georgia native told MLB.com that “I see myself as a shortstop and staying there.”
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So did the Padres just waste their best draft pick?
Not necessarily. Both San Diego general manager A.J. Preller and Abrams’ high school baseball coach Andy Harlin told MLB.com that they believe he could end up at another position.
Plus, Abrams has changed positions in the past; when he played for Team USA in last year’s Pan American Championships, he was in center field.
But while he’s capable of playing the outfield or another infield position, the question is will the Friars be able to convince him to do so? And right now, he’s not interested.
And there’s no reason to move Tatis, who’s been the best thing about watching San Diego during the 2019 season. Although Tatis is currently injured, he looked pretty good during his first rehab start in Amarillo this week, and there’s no reason to think he won’t be back in the majors soon—and be the long-term shortstop that the team has struggled to find.
If CJ Abrams takes off the way Preller hopes he will, then the front office had better convince him to make a move (what about partnering with Tatis by playing second base?) or there’s going to be a problem.
The good news for the Friar Faithful is that Abrams appears willing to sign with the team. Although he has committed to play college baseball at the University of Alabama, he also said to MLB.com that he “could definitely see myself signing [with San Diego] pretty quickly.”
And if he becomes invested in the team, perhaps he’ll be more willing to shift his position if that’s what helps the team. The idea of a CJ Abrams and Fernando Tatis Jr. pairing in the infield would definitely have a ton of potential—fans will just have to wait and see what Abrams decides to do, and where he wants to do it.
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