SEATTLE -- With just three days until the regular season, the Padres intend to push their roster decision on star prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. to the last possible moment. And though it seems inevitable that the standout shortstop won’t open the regular season with the big league club -- service-time stipulations and the fact he hasn’t taken at-bats above Double-A indicate that Tatis will be reassigned to the Minors before Opening Day -- the 20-year-old hopes to make the club’s decision all the more difficult.
“I feel like I'm ready,” Tatis said on Monday ahead of San Diego’s two-game exhibition series against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park. “I feel like I'm ready to go. I don't know. We'll see what it's going to be. I'm not saying everything is going to be 100 percent perfect right away. In this game, you learn every day and you just make adjustments.
“They told me they're going to take that decision to the last day and then decide from there where I'm going to go.”
From high-wire acts on the bases to laser-shot home runs, Tatis has given glimpses to the great potential that comes with being the No. 2 prospect in the game, per MLB Pipeline. Specifically, Tatis has made significant strides with his glove, the club says, while also proving he can hit big league pitching. In 55 Cactus League plate appearances, Tatis slashed .265/.345/.490 with a pair of homers.
“It's been fun. I'm learning a lot,” said Tatis, who last year was sent down in mid-March. “Camp has been great. I came to spring ready to bring something special for the team.”
In a Padres camp that featured the acquisition of superstar Manny Machado to the then-richest contract in free-agent history and the promise of a pitching-heavy pipeline, Tatis has made a case backing the conviction he has in being big league ready -- even if club management won’t explicitly say as much.
“We've had a number of conversations with guys,” manager Andy Green said. “We've let some people know who's on the roster. It seems at this point in time that it wouldn't be prudent to start talking about people we've talked to because that moves off certain people and basically leads to more questions.”
But whether it’s the intention to first send him to Triple-A or the fact that the club will retain an extra year of control on him by keeping him in the Minors for the first 15 days, Tatis likely won’t break camp with the big league club. That would leave shortstop to Luis Urías in the early weeks of the regular season.