Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Tatis' speed, savvy on display in exciting play

Padres' top prospect has impressed this spring
@AJCassavell
March 23, 2019

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It won’t be long before Padres top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. gets to put his five-tool talents on display in the big leagues. With one play in a 6-5 loss to the Rockies Friday night, Tatis offered a glimpse of what's to come. The 20-year-old shortstop reached

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It won’t be long before Padres top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. gets to put his five-tool talents on display in the big leagues. With one play in a 6-5 loss to the Rockies Friday night, Tatis offered a glimpse of what's to come.

The 20-year-old shortstop reached base on an infield single in the sixth -- his second infield hit of the game. Two pitches later, Austin Hedges hit a liner into center field. Tatis, who was running with the pitch, cruised to third base. But he didn't stop there.

When Daniel Montano's throw one-hopped the second baseman, Tatis turned on the jets. Garrett Hampson's throw to the plate beat Tatis by a split-second, but he used an incredibly crafty headfirst slide to evade the tag.

Yes, Tatis scored from first on a single. He fist pumped on his way to the dugout, where Manny Machado leapt over the railing to greet him.

“He didn't hit a ball out of the infield, and he changed the complexion of the game,” said Padres skipper Andy Green. “What he did wins you baseball games.”

For everything Tatis can do on a baseball field, sometimes his speed gets overlooked. But it's clearly an elite weapon.

Two innings prior, after Tatis had reached base via his first infield hit of the night, he swiped both second and third base before scoring on another Hedges single. As he broke for third, he was picked off by Rockies reliever Justin Lawrence. But Tatis kept running anyway, and beat the throw.

“He's definitely on the aggressive side,” Green said. “But he's got good feel. He’s going to make mistakes on the bases. … If you try and eliminate the mistakes, you’re going to lose days like this. And days like this are really, really special. You’re going to have to live with an occasional time where he gets picked off and understand that his instincts are going to win you more games throughout the course of time.”

Tatis, MLB Pipeline's No. 2 overall prospect, is hitting .283/.340/.522 this spring with six extra-base hits, including two homers. It's still unlikely he makes the Opening Day roster. There are service time concerns regarding Tatis, plus there's a legitimate case that he might need more development, having yet to complete a full season above the Class A Advanced level.

But Tatis will arrive in San Diego soon enough. And he'll bring all five tools with him.

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