Tatis' 100-mph assist tops MLB OFs this year

May 11th, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS -- may have switched positions this season. But he still employs the very same cannon for a right arm.

In the Padres’ 4-3 loss to the Twins on Wednesday night, Tatis ended the third inning by recording his second outfield assist of the season. He delivered a one-hop strike to catcher Brett Sullivan to nail Carlos Correa -- a throw that clocked in at an even 100 mph. Tatis’ throw was the fastest on an outfield assist in the Majors this season. Since Statcast began tracking in 2015 only one Padres outfielder has recorded a faster assist -- Hunter Renfroe in ‘17 (100.3 mph).

“For real?” Tatis said, informed that he’d hit 100 mph. “Damn.”

Then he cracked a smile.

“Getting there,” he added.

As breathtaking as the throw was, it was also perfectly fundamentally sound, too.

Tatis, new to right field after breaking through in the big leagues as a shortstop, charged the ball and fielded in stride. His throw would’ve hit cutoff man Jake Cronenworth, who instead let it through to Sullivan. The Padres' backstop applied a nice tag on Correa, keeping the Twins’ lead at 2-0.

“It’s a huge weapon in right field,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “He was really looking forward to it, too. He worked on it. He’s got a fantastic arm. That’s one of the reasons he’s out in right field.”

Tatis, of course, spent his first three seasons dazzling with his arm as a shortstop. But the Padres signed Xander Bogaerts during the offseason, prompting Tatis’ move to right, where he’s been mostly excellent since he returned from his 80-game PED suspension in April.

But Tatis hasn’t gotten many opportunities to show off his cannon, perhaps because other teams have been (rightly) hesitant to test it. Tuesday marked the first time he’d thrown a runner out at the plate this season.

“It’s going to be a one-of-a-kind arm,” Melvin said. “You saw what he has to offer right there.”