Down on the Farm: 2017 Recap- Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps

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Credit: Ryan Cox

Three Takeaways

1. Fernando Tatis Jr. is One of the Best Prospects in Baseball

If there is any obvious takeaway from the TinCaps season, it is that Fernando Tatis Jr. very clearly puts himself into the conversation as one of the best prospects in all of baseball. After improving in every month in Fort Wayne, Tatis found himself surprisingly promoted to the San Antonio Missions in September for the stretch run of the playoffs. He got off to a rather slow start with the Missions, but he ended up being one of their better hitters in the postseason and could start next season back in San Antonio as one of the 10 best prospects in all of minor league baseball.

2. Pitching Prospects Make Improvements

The big story from Fort Wayne was how much improvement came from so many young pitching prospects. From Michel Baez to Pedro Avila to Adrian Morejon to even Lake Bachar and on and on, the TinCaps saw a great deal of improvement from a plethora of young arms. The TinCaps also quietly had one of the better bullpens with David Bednar, Hansel Rodriguez, Dauris Valdez and several others leading the way for Fort Wayne.

3. The Year of the Teenage Prospects

On the other side of the ball, the TinCaps had one of the youngest teams in the Midwest League, with one of the youngest infields led by Hudson Potts, Fernando Tatis Jr., Reinaldo Ilarraza, Brad Zunica, and others. There was a similar story in the outfield, as Jorge Ona, Jack Suwinski ended up being a few of the oldest players on the team despite their own youth. There were ups and downs for everyone in this group, but overall there was lots of young talent on display in Fort Wayne in 2017.

Player of the Year

Fernando Tatis Jr.- SS, Low-A Fort Wayne TinCaps
121-431,.281/.390/.520, 26 2B, 7 3B, 21 HR, 69 RBI, 78 R, 75 BB, 124 K, 29 SB, 224 TB, .239 ISO, 154 wRC+
Was there any player who had a more impressive season in the Padres’ organization than Fernando Tatis Jr.? Sure, the likes of Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and a few others may have had better seasons on paper, but it’s evident that Tatis has quickly become one of the best prospects in baseball, as mentioned above. It’s really crazy to think back on how the Padres acquired Tatis from the Chicago White Sox. For the price of James Shields and some money thrown in, the Padres have turned Fernando Tatis Jr. from the interesting son of a former big league player to one of the best prospects in all of baseball.

On the field, Tatis made rather significant strides as the season progressed in 2018. After getting off to a rough start in April, with an 89 wRC+ and 29 percent strikeout rate, Tatis improved his strikeout to walk ratio and overall offensive output in almost every month of the season.

Looking at those numbers, it’s fairly obvious just how good Tatis was in 2017. Not only did Tatis improve his walk rate in almost every month, but he also improved his power numbers more and more as the season progressed. His performance was so great that the Padres moved Tatis up to San Antonio for the Missions’ playoff run. The Missions obviously fell short in the playoffs, but Tatis had a strong showing in the postseason and may have earned himself a full promotion to Double-A to start the 2018 season. No matter where he ends up at the end of 2018, this is the blue-chip position player prospect the Padres need moving forward.


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