When the season began, there were questions about how Fernando Tatis Jr. would handle a full season in right field for the San Diego Padres. However, the 24-year-old All-Star answered all of those questions and more in what would be one of the bright spots of the campaign for the Friars.
The outfield ascension of Tatis culminated on Friday night when he was named as the winner of the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, becoming the first Padres player to win the honor since it began in 2011. He is also just the fifth National League player to earn the award, joining Nolan Arenado (six wins), Yadier Molina (four wins), Anthony Rizzo and Andrelton Simmons.
Padres teammate Manny Machado has also won the award, but captured it as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in 2013.
Rawlings describes the award as, "a new fan-centric platform asking the game’s avid fans who the best defensive baseball player is among that season's Rawlings Gold Glove Award® winners. To determine the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award winners, fans can only select one player among the Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners from each League."
Fans certainly turned out in droves for Tatis, who took over in right field following his return from a PED suspension and proved just how valuable he can be for the Padres wherever he plays. Tatis, who also earned his first-ever Gold Glove this season, posted eye-popping defensive statistics and plenty of highlight-reel moments on his way to winning the award.
It wasn't just his natural ability that helped Tatis become such a force in right field, however. Tatis was credited by multiple individuals for spending spring training working tirelessly on his skills at the new position, which was pushed along by the arrival of shortstop Xander Bogaerts this offseason.
All of that work has now paid off for Tatis with his first Gold and Platinum Gloves, answering all of the offseason questions that there were about him and the position.