There are franchises out there that wouldn’t be too thrilled watching their franchise player, fresh off a 13-year, $340 million contract extension, tag up on a ball just past the infield dirt and dive, headfirst, into home plate in a spring training game.
But the San Diego Padres aren’t one of those franchises.
Padres know what they have in Fernando Tatis Jr.
Fernando Tatis Jr. isn’t your typical player. He’s one of the best talents in all of Major League Baseball and he has his eyes on bringing that long-awaited World Series championship to San Diego.
"“The last thing we want is any type of injury or anything like that, certainly this time of the year,” manager Jayce Tingler told MLB.com. “Also the last thing we want is to take any type of play where he’s playing the game the way it’s supposed to be played — 100% running hard — all those things away. I’m very aware of the risk factors and we’ll certainly have some talks on that, but I’m probably more aware as well of taking a part of somebody’s game away.”"
Tatis Jr. had just gotten back on the field after missing a week or so due to the flu. He didn’t miss a beat, though, going yard and then pulling off this improbable turn of events all in the matter of days.
This type of stuff? This is why Tatis Jr. is the most exciting player in baseball. He’s capable of doing things that pretty much no one can – and it’s not like it’s a single-faceted approach, either. He can run, he can hit and he makes highlight-reel plays at shortstop look routine.
The Padres superstar is coming off a fourth-place finish in NL MVP voting and the first Silver Slugger of his career. He ranked in the top percentile in both hard hit rate, exit velocity, barrel rate and outs above average in 2020, establishing himself as the premier shortstop in baseball.
If this spring has been any indication, this is just the beginning. Expect the same all-out effort to continue throughout the next two weeks – and for years to come.