Tatis quiets critics as All-MLB First Team SS

December 10th, 2020

SAN DIEGO -- began the year by answering questions about whether he'd stick at shortstop.

He ended the year with a notable piece of hardware: All-MLB First Team shortstop.

Yes, shortstop. And Tatis took the occasion to remind anyone who doubted his ability to handle the position.

On his Instagram story Wednesday night, Tatis posted a clip of himself holding the award.

"No, he can't play shortstop,” Tatis said with a hefty dose of sarcasm. “He's going to be an outfielder, he's going to be a center fielder, he's going to end [up] on the corners."

The camera then zooms in on the words "First Team shortstop."

In fairness to his critics, Tatis struggled immensely at short in 2019, his rookie season. He was worth -13 outs above average, according to Statcast, among the worst defensive marks in baseball.

But Tatis arrived at Spring Training 2020 with a goal in mind. He told coaches, "I want to be great at defense," and he worked for it, quieting his movements and trading some flair for sure-handedness.

The result: Tatis' seven outs above average were the most among all shortstops in 2020. The Padres’ 21-year-old phenom already owned the other four tools. In 2020, he became a true five-tool superstar.

Oh, and an All-MLB shortstop.

"It's crazy, man," Tatis said Wednesday night. "I truly feel blessed being compared to so many great players right now, so many great shortstops. Being elected All-MLB, it's just an amazing feeling. Hopefully, we can keep doing it a couple more years."