In a surprising and aggressive move, the San Diego Padres have promoted star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. to Double-A San Antonio. Tatis, the Padres No. 4 Prospect and the No. 58 prospect in baseball according to mlb.com, had spent the entirety of the 2017 season in Class-A Fort Wayne.
Through 117 games with the Tin Caps, Tatis had been absolutely raking, hitting for a strong slash line of .281/.390/.520 to go with 21 home runs, a Tin Caps single-season record, as well as 29 stolen bases. Though he had been striking out at a high rate to start the season, he’s been making strides lately, lowering his strikeout rate and increasing his walk rate in each successive month of the season (he still had a 28.7% season K rate, but a really good 17.4% BB rate).
In heading to San Antonio, Tatis joins the likes of a stacked Missions squad, headlined by Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, Jacob Nix, Josh Naylor, and Luis Urias. It will be interesting to see how the innings are distributed at shortstop, as Javier Guerra has struggled mightily in his career as a Padre, and there have been rumblings that Tatis may eventually move to third base. My initial thought is that Tatis will play the bulk of the innings at shortstop for this Missions team in the thick of a playoff race while Guerra’s Padres career may quickly start to recede into the shadows.
In all, this should excite Padres fans, for most of their prime talent has started to move their way towards the upper levels of the minor leagues. It remains to be seen whether or not Tatis will be demoted to High-A Lake Elsinore to start the 2018 season, but for now, let’s enjoy the ride.