Happy Father’s Day from all of us here at Padres Prospectus. Normally, such a day might not elicit a specific post (unless you felt like writing about the great father and son duo of Tony Gwynn and Tony Gwynn Jr.), but at this point in the Padres system, two of the biggest prospects happen to have fathers who were also big league ball players – and pretty good ones at that.
I’m talking, of course, about Lake Elsinore Storm pitcher Cal Quantrill and Fort Wayne TinCaps shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr.
Quantrill, a first round draft pick from last year’s draft, is the son of Paul Quantrill. Paul spent 14 years in the majors, including time with the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Phillies, Dodgers, Yankees, Padres, and Marlins. Originally a starter, he transitioned to the bullpen in his sixth year in the bigs (his second with Toronto). After the move, he had a seven year stretch (1997-2003) where he posted a 2.81 ERA in 537.1 innings (an average of 77 innings per year), a 5.8 K/9 and a 2.2 BB/9.
About growing up as the son of a major league father, Cal had this to say to play-by-play man Mike Monacao last year:
“I don’t think you can find many kids who literally grew up in clubhouses. Until grade 5 or grade 6, I was living in clubhouses – wherever he played, I would just follow him. I wanted so desperately to be part of those teams. You learn a lot about the game, how to approach the game, how the best players go about their business. It is a business, and this is our job, but there’s ways you can approach it that I think work better than others, and that’s a unique experience that as a kid, I got to see them all do it. Obviously you benefit, having a big league pitching coach your entire career, but also a great father figure, (and) mentor.”
The younger Quantrill has had a solid season for Lake Elsinore this year, with a 3.69 ERA and a 65:21 K:BB ratio. He’s been ranked the 78th best prospect by Baseball America, and appears to be recovering well from Tommy John surgery that sidelined him at the end of his time at Stanford.
Fernando Tatis Sr. had a pretty decent career of his own, where he slashed .265/.344/.442 over 11 big league seasons. Like Quantrill, he played for a number of teams, including the Mets, Expos, Cardinals, Rangers, and Orioles. Of his 113 career MLB home runs, two of them were grand slams that occurred in the same inning on April 23, 1999. While that claim to fame will keep him in trivia books for years, his son has the potential to overtake his father’s career 6.3 bWAR.
Fernando Jr. was a relative unknown when he was included in the return in the James Shields trade. People know his name now. From the booming homers well over 400 feet to the SportsCenter highlight reel plays at short, he’s quickly showing that he’s capable of following in his father’s footsteps. At only 19 years old, he’s hitting .260/.337/.429 in Single-A, including 9 homers through 66 games. When asked if he told his dad that he made the Midwest League All-Star team, Tatis Jr. said that he didn’t have to because “he was right next to me”.
Both Quantrill and Tatis Jr. are looking to lead the charge up the rungs of the Padres farm system, but they’ve had big league dreams (and examples) for quite some time.