The San Diego Padres require a more mature Fernando Tatis Jr. for the franchise to gain success in 2022 and beyond.
There is no doubt that Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the best baseball players on the planet.
The San Diego Padres are pleased with his skill level and work ethic. Tatis goes way beyond the minimal effort to prepare himself to play the game of baseball. From his conditioning to the way he intakes his food, the Dominican shortstop is all about becoming a better player.
Fernando Tatis Jr. will never be criticized for being unprepared, but there are some concerns about his maturity level. They cannot be ignored.
One must remember that Tatis is still 23 years old and most players do not break into the major leagues at that age, let alone have three years and 273 games under their belt. With that age comes a slight immaturity level. It is only natural.
This concept of immaturity came into the public eye last year as Manny Machado and Tatis were recorded in the dugout shouting at each other in a game against the Cardinals. Machado repeatedly screamed at Tatis as teammates stood between the two men. “It’s not about you. You go play baseball,” Machado yelled at Tatis, among several other things.
In a media scrum the next homestand, Machado and Tatis spoke about the incident to the local media. Machado specifically mentioned, “we have bigger things to worry about than something that is not a big deal.” At this time, there were 13 games left in the season, and the Padres had their backs against the wall.
Perhaps, the failures of the 2021 Padres down the stretch led to the frustrations that boiled over with this incident in St. Louis. Who knows. Machado earned a lot of street cred for his handling of Tatis. Machado, a victim of being labeled, knows exactly what happens if the media portrays you in a certain light. The Padres’ third baseman took Tatis under his wing from the very beginning and calls the shortstop his best friend and little brother.
It is difficult to say what happened on that day, but Machado was clearly not happy with the distraction Tatis put on the shoulders of the Padres. He called out Tatis, and there is no way to ignore that fact. The Padres may have downplayed the whole situation, but it is a red flag about the maturity level of their young superstar shortstop.
Watching Tatis play the game of baseball is like going back in time and watching a masterpiece being painted by Michelangelo right in front of your very eyes. Talent like his is rare. It is special. We are only in the infancy of his career, and many forget that. Fernando Tatis Jr. could easily play another 12-15 years in the major leagues.
His winter motorcycle crash really dampened the excitement around the team to begin the 2022 season. Thankfully, the Padres rallied and are presently playing well without Fernando Tatis Jr. even participating in one inning for the team. That speaks a lot about the construction of the team and how several men have stepped up in his absence. But the Padres are floundering of recent, and Tatis’ bat is sorely needed.
There are issues with Tatis when it comes to maturity, but he came into the game as a young teenager and never really had an opportunity to be a normal teen. As success has hit the young Dominican, it is natural for him to want to experience life. Riding a motorcycle is part of that, but unfortunately, it did not go well for the infielder. Manager Bob Melvin indicated in the spring that Tatis’ days of riding motorcycles are over.
There are some rules and regulations in signing a $340 million deal. Among them is riding a motorcycle. Players cannot risk their health while under contract and are looked upon as investments. The Padres wisely did not make a huge deal of Tatis’ accident in the Dominican this winter. The shortstop reportedly spoke to the team and was seen by a local doctor who failed to diagnose the break in his wrist. The whole timing of the situation was tragic as the lockout prevented the Padres from fully investigating the incident.
Fernando Tatis Jr. plays the game like his hair is on fire.
Unfortunately, injuries have occurred several times in his young career. He cannot get out of the injury-prone label which is placed on his shoulders. But, he is young. There is plenty of time for him to shed the stigma. The Padres enjoy his style of play as it energizes the whole roster. For Tatis, there will need to be a middle ground in which he keeps the intensity on the field but is able to play the game with caution in order to preserve himself for the entire season.
In time, Fernando Tatis Jr. may mature into one of the best players in the history of the game. There is that kind of potential. For now, the Padres just want the young Dominican to play the game with passion and grow. Manny Machado is a positive influence on Tatis, and we have yet to see the best from this young shortstop as he matures and finds himself in Major League Baseball. If you loved Tatis as “El Nino”, then you are going to love him as “El Hombre.”