Current, ex-players back Tatis on social media

August 18th, 2020

Fernando Tatis Jr., the Padres’ 21-year-old shortstop and emerging superstar, had a historic game on Monday night at the Rangers, hitting two home runs and driving in seven runs, thus becoming the youngest player with seven RBIs in a game since Ron Santo in 1961.

His second homer, a grand slam which added four of those RBIs, has been a topic of discussion since the game ended, both among the teams themselves and online. He hit the grand slam on a 3-0 pitch, with Tatis’ team up by seven runs.

For as far back as pitch-count data is available (since 1988), it was the largest lead for a player who had hit a grand slam on a 3-0 count. After the game, Rangers manager Chris Woodward indicated a dislike for the decision to swing there.

“There's a lot of unwritten rules that are constantly being challenged in today's game,” Woodward said. “I didn't like it, personally. You're up by seven in the eighth inning; it's typically not a good time to swing, 3-0. It's kind of the way we were all raised in the game. But, like I said, the norms are being challenged on a daily basis, so -- just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's not right.”

Woodward’s comment has sparked further discussion that has continued today, with a number of current and former players weighing in, supporting Tatis. 

Pitcher Collin McHugh noted that he would check data before the game to know which batters might swing 3-0, simply to help prepare himself.

Former infielder Trevor Plouffe sent his message loud and clear, tweeting a few different versions of the message throughout the night -- even saying that 3-0 swings should be a “regular part of baseball.”

It isn’t just younger players chiming in to encourage Tatis. Hall of Famers Johnny Bench and Reggie Jackson also spoke up.

Reds Trevor Bauer shared his support as well, encouraging Tatis to continue bringing electricity to the game.

Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, who threw 28 pitches in 3-0 counts last season, gave Tatis the green light, too.

Rays reliever Colin Poche echoed a similar sentiment, noting that the best way to avoid a 3-0 swing is to not end up in that count.