Fernando Tatis Jr. continues growth in 2020

Tatis leads formidable Padres lineup

Fernando Tatis Jr.

He missed out on Rookie of the Year honors last year but Fernando Tatis Jr. might be MLB’s best second-year player in 2020.

Indeed, the San Diego Padres’ shortstop is putting together a stellar campaign in the pandemic-shortened season’s early going, batting .291 with five home runs, 14 RBIs, a .391 on-base percentage and a monster 1.063 OPS through 13 games. His raw talent has also been on display – the blazing speed, the rocket arm and the power.

At age 21, he’s also shown signs of maturity, laying off bad pitches and crushing pitches in the strike zone. True, his strikeout rate is still high – about 35 percent compared to just under 30 percent in 2019 – but that can be traced to an early spike of strikeouts looking, a number that will likely decrease.

Last year, he’d have won the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award were it not for two factors: His season-ending back injury in August and the emergence of New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso and his rookie-record-setting 53 home runs. Still, Tatis’ 2019 numbers, which he compiled in just 84 games, were certainly formidable – a .317 average, 22 home runs, 53 RBIs, a .379 on-base percentage and an OPS of .969.

The scary part is he’ll likely get only better and be the lynchpin of a talented Padres offense for years to come.

Tatis and the Padres can be seen in action Saturday, Sept. 5, when they face the Oakland A’s in a game airing on Fox Sports 1.

Full name: Fernando Gabriel Tatis Medina

Birth date: Jan. 2, 1999

Birthplace: San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic

Height/weight: 6 feet 3 inches/185 pounds

Teams: San Diego Padres (2019-present)

Position: Shortstop

Bats/throws: Right/right

No.: 23

Honors and achievements: In four minor league seasons, batted .280 with 42 home runs, 143 RBIs, a .360 on-base percentage and an OPS of .847; at the beginning of 2019, was ranked in the top three of prospects in baseball by MLB Pipeline, ESPN, Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus; hit first MLB home run on April 1; finished third in 2019 Rookie of the Year voting

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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