Expectations for Padres top prospectFernando Tatis Jr. were set long before he reported to Spring Training. If he was hoping to make an indelible impression on the Friars' decision-makers during his time in big league camp, it's fair to say he's already succeeded -- even with three weeks to go.Tatis
Expectations for Padres top prospectFernando Tatis Jr. were set long before he reported to Spring Training. If he was hoping to make an indelible impression on the Friars' decision-makers during his time in big league camp, it's fair to say he's already succeeded -- even with three weeks to go.
Tatis is only 19, but having been labeled by MLB Pipeline as the No. 8 prospect in all of baseball, he has generated his share of attention. And he added to his allure on Sunday, going 4-for-4 with five RBIs as the starting shortstop in a split-squad game at the White Sox.
Tatis, who logged a double and stole a base, increased his spring average to .381 and his OPS to 1.125.
:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::
Not bad for a kid ticketed for some more Minor League seasoning when the 2018 regular season arrives.
"It's felt great, man," Tatis said after Sunday's big game, one the Padres won, 7-6. "I've been working hard, been working every day with my hitting coach. It's paying off right now. They've been telling me to stay more consistent, be a little more quiet with my swing, staying through the ball. Same swing, just more control."
Tatis, the son of former 11-year Major Leaguer Fernando Tatis, was acquired by the Padres in June 2016 as part of the James Shields trade. Last year, the shortstop became the first 18-year-old in Midwest League history to post at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
He's viewed as a future power hitter, with a rocket arm at short. He's also shown plate discipline unusual for a player his age, having led the Midwest League last year with 75 walks.
Being in big league camp can help boost a young player's confidence, even if he doesn't have a realistic shot to crack the Opening Day 25-man roster. Simply facing a higher level of competition can provide a welcomed test -- a test Tatis, so far, is acing.
"It's obviously a little bit better over here," Tatis said. "The pitchers have more control. It's close to the same, just a lot more control."
What can a little early success do for a kid's confidence?
"It helps me a lot, knowing I can hit no matter where I'm at," Tatis said.
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.