REPORTS: Fernando Tatis Jr. to make Padres’ Opening Day roster
In somewhat of a stunner, Fernando Tatis Jr. has made the Padres‘ Opening Day roster. The news was first reported by the San Diego Union Tribune’s Kevin Acee:
Fernando Tatis Jr. has made the team.#Padres believe he's ready and makes them the best possible team.
— Kevin Acee (@sdutKevinAcee) March 27, 2019
Tatis Jr., the No. 2 prospect in all of baseball (per MLB Pipeline), hit .265/.345/.490 in 55 plate appearances this spring. He did not just impact games with the bat, however. He showcased all five tools en route to earning a roster spot, including his speed:
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) March 23, 2019
As well as improvements with the glove:
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) March 5, 2019
— FOX Sports San Diego (@FOXSportsSD) March 24, 2019
Acquired from the White Sox in 2016, Tatis Jr. hit .286 with 16 home runs last season in Double-A San Antonio. A thumb fracture cut his season short in July, but the shortstop gained plenty of in-game reps late in the year while playing in the Dominican Winter League. In his hometown of San Pedro de Macorís, Tatis Jr. helped lead the Estrellas de Oriente team to their first championship in 51 years. He took the momentum from winter ball into Peoria and turned the heads of teammates and the Padres brass.
The Padres were mostly mum about the D.R. native’s chances of cracking the top 25 for the majority of the spring. There was speculation that the organization would send Tatis Jr. to Triple-A for the start the season in order to gain an extra year of control. Obviously, that speculation was all for not.
The 20-year-old did have the backing of superstar Manny Machado early in camp, and the duo will now start 2019 on the left side of the Padres’ infield.
On February 15, when asked about his goals for Spring Training, Tatis Jr. smiled and replied with three simple words:
“Make the team.”