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Tatis named finalist for NL Rookie of the Year

@AJCassavell
November 4, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- In mid-August, Fernando Tatis Jr. was on his way to one of the most dazzling rookie seasons in recent memory. A breakout 20-year-old shortstop, Tatis seemingly found a different way to awe fans in San Diego every night. He was audacious on the bases, flashy on defense

SAN DIEGO -- In mid-August, Fernando Tatis Jr. was on his way to one of the most dazzling rookie seasons in recent memory. A breakout 20-year-old shortstop, Tatis seemingly found a different way to awe fans in San Diego every night. He was audacious on the bases, flashy on defense and electric with his bat.

But Tatis’ season soon came to an abrupt halt due to a lower back injury. The Padres' phenom wouldn't get the chance to make his run at the best rookie season in franchise history. Instead, Tatis settled for a season that was very good -- but left fans in San Diego wanting more.

On Monday night, Tatis was recognized for his rookie excellence, despite the fact he played only 84 games. He was named as one of three finalists for the National League Rookie of the Year Award.

Complete Awards coverage

Had he remained healthy, Tatis likely would have set himself up for a showdown with the Mets' Pete Alonso for the hardware. Instead, Alonso enters awards season as the heavy favorite with Tatis and Braves right-hander Mike Soroka as the other finalists. The winner will be announced on Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. PT on MLB Network.

Tatis batted .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers and 16 stolen bases in his rookie season. At the time of his injury, Tatis was chasing an historic batting title. He would've been the youngest player in baseball history to take home the crown.

No question, Tatis' numbers were excellent. Yet they rarely did justice to his on-field flair. Tatis tagged up from third base on infield pop-ups. He made leaping catches you knew were poster-worthy the moment you saw them. When he got knocked down, he got right back up and responded in style.

All-time NL Rookie of the Year Award winners

Tatis arrived in June 2016 in the trade that sent James Shields to the White Sox, and he quickly ascended to the top of San Diego's prospect rankings. When he earned an Opening Day callup, Padres fans embraced him from the start. Tatis reciprocated that affection.

"I have fallen in love with this city," Tatis said after the team's final home game. "I fell in love with these fans. They're all crazy out there, and I like it. I like how they've treated me, I like how they perceive me. Hopefully, it's just the beginning of something good for a long time."

Now, Tatis is among three finalists for the NL Rookie of the Year Award, which no Padre has won since Benito Santiago in 1987.

Right-hander Chris Paddack is not among that group, though he posted a 3.33 ERA in his rookie season with a 0.98 WHIP. Even though he's outside the top three, it’s likely Paddack received a few votes.

Padres trim roster, make four cuts
Monday marked the fifth day since the conclusion of the World Series, meaning the Padres needed to reinstate a handful of players from the 60-day injured list. So they trimmed four players from their active roster to clear space.

Right-handers Eric Yardley, Jacob Nix and Carl Edwards Jr. were all removed from the roster. Edwards cleared waivers and elected free agency, while Yardley and Nix were designated for assignment. That leaves the club with seven days to either make a trade or place them on outright waivers.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

None of those three moves comes as much of a surprise. Nix and Edwards dealt with injuries all season. Yardley, meanwhile, posted a 2.31 ERA in 10 appearances after his September callup. But he ranked low on the bullpen pecking order entering the offseason.

To complete their day of roster shuffling, the Padres outrighted infielder Seth Mejias-Brean to Triple-A El Paso.

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