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Tatis named No. 2 shortstop prospect in MLB

Dynamic 19-year-old behind only Torres in MLB Pipeline's rankings
MLB.com @AJCassavell

SAN DIEGO -- The National League's best shortstop prospect resides in the Padres' farm system, so says MLB Pipeline.

Fernando Tatis Jr. checked in at No. 2 overall on Wednesday, when MLB Pipeline unveiled its list of the 10 best shortstop prospects. He trails only the Yankees' Gleyber Torres.

SAN DIEGO -- The National League's best shortstop prospect resides in the Padres' farm system, so says MLB Pipeline.

Fernando Tatis Jr. checked in at No. 2 overall on Wednesday, when MLB Pipeline unveiled its list of the 10 best shortstop prospects. He trails only the Yankees' Gleyber Torres.

:: Top 10 Prospects by Position ::

In his age-18 season last year, Tatis torched Class A pitching, posting a .281/.390/.520 slash line while crushing a franchise-record 21 home runs for Fort Wayne. He earned a promotion to Double-A San Antonio, where he held his own for the final month despite being one of the Texas League's youngest players.

Following his Minor League season, Tatis was the No. 1 overall selection in the Dominican Winter League draft. He batted .246/.358/.386 in 17 games for Estrellas de Oriente.

"He was very talented, obviously, when we got him," said Padres farm director Sam Geaney. "But he's continued to make strides and improve. He's got a very, very strong desire to be a great player, and that's driven a lot of this."

Next month, Tatis will get his first crack at big league-caliber pitching; he received a non-roster invite to Major League camp last week.

Video: Tatis Jr. named Padres' Pipeline hitter of the year

Ultimately, Tatis is destined to begin the season in either San Antonio or Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore. But the Padres are eager to see what he can do in his brief spring stint with the Major League club.

"I have no doubt he's someone who's up to the task of a big league camp," said Geaney.

Padres' Top 30 prospects

There, he'll likely pair with second baseman Luis Urias (who was rated by MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 second-base prospect.)

"Seeing those guys get back on the field together, that'll be a lot of fun," said Padres general manager A.J. Preller. "Hopefully we're giving everybody a glimpse of what could potentially be a nice combo in the future."

Video: AJ Cassavell on the future of the Padres' infield

Though some have wondered whether Tatis is better suited for third base in the long run, right now the Padres view him exclusively as a shortstop. His pending arrival was enough to influence their decision-making process this offseason. San Diego was content to settle for a one-year solution in Freddy Galvis, with the idea that Tatis could make an impact as early as 2019.

The Padres, after all, have spent the past decade looking for their shortstop of the future. In Tatis, they hope they've found it.

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

San Diego Padres, Fernando Tatis Jr.