San Diego Padres #1 prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. will be given an opportunity to compete for a roster spot next spring. That is what A.J. Cassavell is reporting about the prized young infielder. But does that mean he is guaranteed to make the team to start 2019?
The bad news trickled down the social media platforms and news wires on Monday that Padres’ star prospect Fernando Tatis Jr., who had injured his thumb and hand over the weekend, would indeed be out for the season.
News broke and MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell tweeted out something that is worth dissecting.
The Padres “fully expect” Tatis to compete for a starting job next spring. This is the first we have heard of such a notion. We can split hairs and call the philosophers to interpret this cryptic (or not) tweet about Tatis having a chance to play for the Padres next April.
The consensus, even before the injury, seemed to be let him play out this season in Double-A, start next year in Triple-A and see where he is at by mid-next season, perhaps then meriting a call-up between the All-Star break and when rosters expand in September.
Are we reading too much into one tweet? Perhaps. But isn’t this more fun to think about? Fernando Tatis Jr. was making Double-A his playground, especially since May 1st, since then he has hit .327 with 13 home runs and a 158 wRC+. He is in the top 10 of most of the offensive categories in the Texas League…as a teenager.
Top Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. is indeed slated for season-ending surgery on his left thumb. Plan is for him to play some form of winter ball or AFL. Then they fully expect him to compete for a starting job next year in Spring Training.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) July 23, 2018
Yes, it is sad that we won’t see any more of Tatis this regular season (look for him in fall or winter ball), however this little nugget may keep us warm through the coming winter: Fernando Tatis Jr. might be given a chance to make the major league roster out of spring training next season. It’s of course not guaranteed he will and even if he earns it, the Padres may give him the Kris Bryant treatment and not call him up until a few weeks into April to avoid losing a year of service time.
Tatis is the third-best prospect in all of baseball and after a few more call-ups across the big leagues this year, he may start next season as the number one overall prospect. He has done nothing in Double-A to douse the enthusiasm and expectations.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, he has a long way to go before he dons Padres colors (we all know the color we would like to see him in). He first needs to bounce back from this hand surgery and get back into shape. If he has a strong showing in fall and/or winter ball, you might want to make your vacation plans to Peoria, Arizona next March.