Four years ago today, the Padres made a trade for Fernando Tatis Jr.
Say what you want about James Shields‘ time in San Diego, but one thing is for certain. The Padres likely don’t acquire Fernando Tatis Jr. back on June 4, 2016, if the Chicago White Sox weren’t looking for proven pitching help. Tatis was just 17 years old at the time of the trade and two years removed from being signed as an international free agent.
In his first full season with the Padres, Tatis played across two levels of the minors, posting a combined .278/.379/.498 slash line with 22 bombs and 75 RBI in 131 games. He spent all of 2018 with Double-A San Antonio, hitting .286 with 16 home runs and driving in 43 runs over an 88-game sample size.
The following year, he made the Opening Day roster for the Padres and collected two hits in his first big-league game. His first home run came a few days later on April 1, a two-run shot off Diamondbacks’ starter Merrill Kelly. Tatis was limited to just 84 games in his first year with the Padres due to injuries, with a stress fracture in his back prematurely ending his year.
He finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting behind Met’s Pete Alonso, who won the award, and Mike Soroka of the Braves. It would have been difficult to top Alonso’s efforts, but Tatis could have made a strong case had he played the entire year.
Now 21 years of age, Tatis is looking to build off his rookie year, and he figures to be a regular in the NL-MVP conversation for the next decade. Let’s see if he can clean up his defense this year after committing 18 errors at shortstop a year ago.