22 stats that show why Tatis is special

February 18th, 2021

Note: This story was originally published on Jan. 2, when Fernando Tatis Jr. turned 22 years old. With a source telling MLB.com's Mark Feinsand on Wednesday night that Tatis and the Padres have agreed to a 14-year, $340 million contract extension -- the club has not confirmed the deal -- it's a good time to take another look at the young shortstop's early-career success.

With all he has already accomplished, sometimes we forget just how young . is. For instance, right now, you might need a friendly reminder that Tatis turns 22 today.

That's right: Tatis' birthday is on the second day of the calendar year, one day after his father and former Major Leaguer Fernando Tatis Sr.'s birthday (no, we're not kidding, you can check). And Tatis Sr. has the distinction of being the only player in MLB history to hit two (there's that number again) grand slams in the same inning.

So on this special day, we reflect on just how incredible Tatis Jr.'s career has been already. Here are 22 tremendous Tatis stats and facts in honor of his 22nd birthday:

Historic company

1. Injuries and the COVID-19 pandemic have limited Tatis to just 143 career games to this point in his MLB career. Nevertheless, he's in some rarefied air when it comes to offensive production before age 22. In the last 80 years, only two other players have posted an OPS+ of 154 or greater through age 21 (minimum 600 plate appearances): Mike Trout (166) and Albert Pujols (157). Overall, there are only four others -- Cap Anson (162), Ted Williams (161), Jimmie Foxx (157) and Rogers Hornsby (155). That's four Hall of Famers and two future Hall of Famers, if you're keeping count.

2. If you were to extrapolate Tatis' numbers over 143 games into a 162-game season, you'd get the following:

.301/.374/.582, 44 HR, 111 RBIs, 31 SB

Not bad.

3. In terms of Baseball Reference wins above replacement, let's have a look at all the players younger than 22 to have 7 WAR or better in a single season (Tatis has accumulated 7 WAR over 143 games, so we'll call that a season):

Mike Trout: 10.5 (2012), 8.9 (2013)
Rogers Hornsby: 9.9 (1917)
Alex Rodriguez: 9.4 (1996)
Rickey Henderson: 8.8 (1980)
Al Kaline: 8.3 (1955)
Eddie Mathews: 8.1 (1953)
Cesar Cedeno: 8.0 (1972)
Jimmie Foxx: 7.9 (1929)
Andruw Jones: 7.4 (1998)
Mel Ott: 7.2 (1929)
Ken Griffey Jr.: 7.1 (1991)
Carlos Correa: 7.0 (2016)

That's phenomenal company for the phenom to be in.

2019 rookie records and feats

4. Youngest player in Padres history to start on Opening Day (Mar. 28 vs. SF)

5. Youngest player since 1975 (Robin Yount) to have multiple hits on Opening Day (2-for-3 vs. SF on Mar. 28)

6. First home run: April 1 vs. ARI, two-run shot off Merrill Kelly in the 6th inning of 10-3 Padres loss

7. Youngest shortstop to hit four home runs in his team's first 16 games (April 13 at ARI)

8. Youngest player to have a multi-home run game at Dodger Stadium (July 7 at LAD)

9. Youngest player to hit leadoff homers in consecutive games (Aug. 7 at SEA, Aug. 8 vs. COL)

10. Most leadoff home runs in a single season in Padres history (6)

11. Most home runs (22!) by a shortstop before turning 21 (Aug. 8 vs. COL)

12. 14-game hitting streak from July 26-Aug. 10; previous six players to have a 10-game hitting streak or longer before turning 21 -- Juan Soto, Ronald Acuña Jr, Ozzie Albies, Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Mike Trout

13. Finished third in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting despite only playing in 84 games due to injury

A big 2020

14. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Tatis was red-hot right out of the gate, being named the NL Player of the Month for August after hitting .313/.388/.670 with 11 homers.

15. Tatis launched his first career grand slam on a 3-0 pitch from Rangers right-hander Juan Nicasio during a 14-4 victory at Globe Life Field on Aug. 17. Given how far ahead San Diego was, it sparked controversy. It also marked the beginning of history in the making, as the Padres would go on to smash a grand slam in each of their next three games, becoming the first team in MLB history to hit a slam in four straight. San Diego had become "Slam Diego."

16. According to Statcast, no one barreled the ball more frequently in 2020 than Tatis, who did so at the rate of a barrel every eight plate appearances. No one had a higher average exit velocity on batted balls, either -- Tatis' was 95.9 mph. Tatis also led the Majors with a 62.2% hard-hit rate.

17. Following a rough first season defensively (-13 Outs Above Average) -- spectacular plays not withstanding -- Tatis was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball in 2020, finishing with +7 OAA.

18. Tatis finished fourth in NL MVP Award voting in 2020, despite slumping at the plate toward the end of the season.

19. Tatis hit .455 with a pair of homers to help the Padres beat the Cardinals in the NL Wild Card Series, San Diego's first postseason series victory in, yep, 22 years.

20. Tatis hit two homers in Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series (and gave us an epic bat flip), as did teammate Wil Myers -- the pair became the first since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series to each have multiple homers in the same postseason game.

21. Tatis captured his first career Silver Slugger Award after hitting .277/.366/.571 with 17 home runs in 2020.

22. He was also named to the 2020 All-MLB Team (First Team).

And he's just getting started

All of that, and Tatis is just now turning 22. What does the future hold for this young superstar? Time will tell, but if there's one thing we know, it's that it'll be exciting to watch unfold.