SAN DIEGO -- The accolades keep pouring in for Fernando Tatis Jr.
Already this winter, the Padres’ superstar shortstop has won a National League Silver Slugger Award and was a finalist for NL MVP. Now -- for the second year in a row -- Tatis is the top shortstop in baseball.
Major League Baseball unveiled its All-MLB Teams on Tuesday, and for the second consecutive year, Tatis was named the shortstop on the First Team. He was San Diego’s lone All-MLB representative.
Even in an excellent class of shortstops in 2021, Tatis is a deserving winner. He batted .282/.364/.611 and finished third in NL MVP Award voting. He hit 42 home runs, the second highest single-season total in franchise history, and was a force on the basepaths as well, swiping 25 bags.
Tatis is the first Padres player to be named to multiple All-MLB Teams since the honor debuted in 2019. The All-MLB Teams are comprised of the best players in baseball, regardless of league, at their respective positions -- with three outfielders, five starting pitchers and two relievers. Mark Melancon, Jake Cronenworth and Manny Machado (the All-MLB First Team third baseman in 2020) all came up short in ‘21, despite impressive seasons.
Tatis, meanwhile, missed 32 games -- mostly due to shoulder trouble, but also because of a stint on the COVID-19 injured list -- likely costing him a shot at the NL MVP Award. But he still racked up what’s easily the best season by a shortstop in franchise history.
Tatis briefly moved from shortstop to the outfield in mid-August as the Padres attempted to protect his balky left shoulder for the stretch run. He had struggled defensively at short early in the season, but he was mostly solid during the final few months. Tatis' 21 errors at short drew plenty of attention, but because of his elite range, he still graded as basically a league average shortstop and was worth two outs above average, according to Statcast.
As such, the Padres expect Tatis back at shortstop again next season. There was some debate regarding his long-term position. But the organization seemingly quashed that toward the end of the season, saying that he remains San Diego’s shortstop of the future.
And, as it turns out, the top shortstop in baseball, for a second consecutive season.