By now you know the name Fernando Tatis Jr. The son of the only man in MLB history to hit two grand slams in the same inning, is quickly making a name for himself. The shortstop for the Padres is the most exciting player to watch, and is only just beginning.
Drafted by the Chicago White Sox, as a 17-year old, Tatis was traded for James Shields, before playing in the minor leagues (White Sox fans, be thankful for Tim Anderson). He quickly rose up the minor league ranks, and made the major league roster to start 2019. In August of that year, he hurt his back, and was out for the rest of the year. Tatis finished the 2019 season, with a .317 average, and 22 home runs, despite playing in only 84 games. He finished 3rd in the rookie of the year voting.
2020 was a monumental year for San Diego. They got new uniforms, a new color scheme, and a new face of the franchise: El Nino aka Fernando Tatis Jr. They made the postseason, and beat the Cardinals in the wild-card round, before falling to their rival, and eventual World Champs, the LA Dodgers. Tatis hit .277, with 17 bombs, and 42 ribbies. But he had two moments that stood out amongst them all. The first one was his grand slam, on a 3-0 count, with the Pads winning by 7 runs, and the other, an epic bat flip, vs. St. Louis in Game 2 of the Wild-Card.
Photo: Jerome Miron / USA TODAY Sports
His grand slam, sparked controversy in the baseball world, as it came on a 3-0 pitch. Old timers didn’t like it, as you should take on 3-0, but the current generation defended Tatis, saying that you should be able to swing at every pitch, no matter what the count is. El Nino apologized afterwards. Many players, current, and former defended him, saying that taking 3-0, makes it 3-1, and one more good pitch, the count is full. I think Tatis did the correct thing, and that swinging on 3-0 isn’t a crime. Let the kids play…
Photo: Gregory Bull / Associated Press
His other memorable play last season was his bat flip vs. the Cards. It was a 2-run blast that put San Diego ahead 9-6. They went on to win Game 2, to keep their season alive, and they won the next day.
It’s El Nino’s time, no doubt. He is the most exciting player in the MLB, and I really wish I could watch him more (I hate the east coast). He will continue to grow, and watch out baseball, because there will be a lot more electrifying plays to come.