The Padres should make Fernando Tatis Jr. their designated hitter when he returns from injury
In his absence, Ha-Seong Kim has lived up to his KBO Golden Glove defense, and the Padres set an MLB record for errorless games. Should the Padres give that up for Tatis? Probably not, especially when there’s a way for them both to be in the lineup.
Currently, the Padres’ biggest issue isn’t defense, but power in the lineup. That’s where Tatis is needed most. Using him as the designated hitter could be the solution.
Tatis is by far the Padres’ most powerful hitter, though Manny Machado is having an MVP-caliber season so far, leading the NL in hits, batting average, on-base percentage, OPS, and OPS+ as of Friday morning. Current designated hitters Luke Voit and Robinson Canó can’t compete with Tatis’ bat power. Voit and Canó both have multiple stats that fall below team average, particularly batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and OPS.
Without Tatis, the Padres have been one of MLB’s weakest teams offensively. If not for Machado, they’d be near the bottom of the standings, just as they are in most offensive metrics. However, as their second-place standing displays, they need more. Tatis taking over at DH would eliminate weaker hitters from the lineup who are hurting more than helping.
This move would also allow Kim, who has been one of the stronger hitters on the Padres, to remain in the lineup simultaneously. Though Kim isn’t necessarily a star hitter, it’d hurt the team more to keep Voit or Canó as designated hitters and not have him and Tatis Jr. in the lineup together and Kim’s glove at shortstop.