Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. wins NL Platinum Glove Award

Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier this week, Fernando Tatis Jr. won a National League Gold Glove in his first year as an outfielder. Now, that gold has turned platinum.

Rawlings Baseball announced the winners of the National League and American League Platinum Glove Awards on Friday night.

Cleveland’s Andres Gimenez won the award for the American League.

The NL winner resides right here in San Diego, Fernando Tatis Jr.

Yes, Tatis, in his first-ever professional season as an outfielder, not only won a Gold Glove but the Platinum Glove.

The Platinum Glove is given to the best overall fielder in each league. The winner is determined by a combination of fan voting and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR)’s  new SABR Defensive Index™ (SDI™). The award has existed since 2011, with no Padres player ever coming close to winning it in the past.

Tatis’ transition from shortstop to right field is well documented. The level at which he played a new position at the major league level is astounding. He was second in all of baseball in Defensive Runs Saved at 27. Only Toronto’s Daulton Varsho had more. Seeing as he is in the American League, that means Tatis has the highest Defensive Runs Saved of any National League defender at any position. Which makes sense, now that he has been named the Platinum fielder of the NL.

He resided in the 94th percentile for Outs Above Average and the 99th percentile for arm strength. Among right fielders specifically, he led with 11 Outs Above Average. Second place had six. Tatis was also tied for the third-most outfield assists with 12. Teams quickly learned that they should not run on Tatis’ arm.

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Tatis wrestles the award away from Nolan Arenado, who won it an astonishing six years in a row until this year. Many thought it would be Manny Machado to eventually dethrone Arenado as the best defender in the National League. Those folks were right about the team, just not the player. Machado may yet have his say in the matter in coming seasons, but for now, it’s Tatis who is the glove king of the National League.

To go from an All-MLB shortstop to a Platinum Glove outfielder is something only the most elite of elite baseball players could do. Tatis is one of the most physically gifted players in recent memory. The skeptics were abound during Spring Training when Tatis was learning on the fly. Some even mentioned his lack of buy-in or desire to learn the position.

Those skeptics are awfully quiet now.

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