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Prospect power: Tatis Jr. drills 1st Cactus homer

@AJCassavell
February 26, 2019

PHOENIX -- Fernando Tatis Jr. hasn't wasted any time reminding the baseball world why he's MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect -- and the top-rated youngster in an absolutely loaded Padres system. The 20-year-old shortstop, a potential star in the making, made his second spring start on Tuesday in a

PHOENIX -- Fernando Tatis Jr. hasn't wasted any time reminding the baseball world why he's MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect -- and the top-rated youngster in an absolutely loaded Padres system.

The 20-year-old shortstop, a potential star in the making, made his second spring start on Tuesday in a 3-1 victory over the Brewers. In his second at-bat, he sent a laser onto the left-center-field berm off right-hander Chase Anderson.

“I got it good,” Tatis said. “Actually, I didn't think it was going to go out. I thought I hit it too low, but I got it pretty well.”

No kidding. Anderson left a fastball over the heart of the plate, and Tatis destroyed it -- sending it on a line barely over the 378-foot sign.

“Their third-base coach said they had early work tomorrow catching line drives at shortstop to prevent home runs,” Padres manager Andy Green mused. “That about sums it up.”

Tatis is fighting for a spot on the Opening Day roster, though it seems likelier that he begins the season in the Minor Leagues. Service time is a consideration. But it’s also worth noting that despite the accolades, Tatis has yet to play a full season at Double-A after he missed the final two months of 2018 with a broken bone in his left hand.

Through Tuesday, Tatis is 2-for-6 this spring, including an opposite-field single on Monday against the Cubs.

“I'm just going to keep doing my work and leave the decision to those people,” Tatis said.

In 274 career Minor League games, Tatis owns a .280/.358/.487 slash line with 42 homers. He spent the offseason playing for his native Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Republic, and he was named the MVP of the round-robin phase of the postseason. Tatis helped lead Estrellas to their first league title in 51 years.

Tatis -- who also made a slick stop at shortstop on a grounder that deflected off pitcher Robbie Erlin -- wasn’t the only Padres prospect to star on Tuesday. Right-hander Chris Paddack, making his first Spring Training appearance, struck out four in his two innings, allowing a hit and an unearned run. Paddack is the club’s second-ranked pitcher and MLB Pipeline’s No. 34 overall prospect.

“This team is going to be great,” Tatis said. “This year, we’re going to make a lot of [progress].”

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.