Padres: Ranking the team’s three likeliest MVP candidates

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /
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Fernando Tatis Jr. / San Diego Padres
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

2) Fernando Tatis Jr. has all the makings of a future Padres icon

Coming off a fourth-place finish in the NL MVP race in 2020 along with his first-ever Silver Slugger, 22-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. is just getting started in his big league career.

Last year, he played a critical role in helping the Padres return to the postseason for the first time since 2006, smashing 17 home runs in 59 games, throwing up a casual 155 OPS+ at the dish thanks to an impressive .277/.366/.571 line. That’s not to mention his regular highlight reel plays at shortstop, which helped set the tone for the club.

The recently-named MLB The Show cover athlete has a very good shot at winning the MVP in his third season in the bigs, thanks to his all-around skillset and a supporting cast that will force opponents to pitch to him more than they’d like.

The sky is the limit for Tatis Jr. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, of course. There’s a reason the Padres are ready to lock him up long-term: he’s already the face of the franchise and could remain so for the better part of the next two decades.

Make no mistake. If he wins his first MVP in 2021, it probably won’t be his last.