Fernando Tatis Jr has been promoted to Double-A San Antonio. But what is next for the 19-year-old shortstop?
The young infielder was promoted by the Padres all the way up to Double-A San Antonio from Fort Wayne, skipping Lake Elsinore altogether. But what does that mean exactly?
The promotion of Tatis doesn’t necessarily mean that he will never play in Single-A again. Some would suggest that this promotion was solely to let Tatis get some playing time at a level that he has never seen before. A level that will test him. They do say a prospect is proven in Double-A, so it will be interesting to see if he can succeed.
There is the other thought process that he was promoted because the Padres’ front office wants to see what Fernando Tatis Jr. can do in a playoff baseball scenario. The San Antonio Missions clinched a spot in the division earlier this year by winning the South Division title in the first half. There will be playoff in San Antonio this fall.
Promoting him to experience this atmosphere very well may be the case. I can see why the Padres would want to see him at this level. The Padres’ major league team might be in a playoff race in a few years. The front office would like to see how he responds to the big game pressure and tough situations. So, is it possible that we see Tatis in Lake Elsinore at the start of next year? I believe so, although if he performs tremendously while down in Double-A, I can also see him sticking up with that club next year. However, this seems unlikely. He would be incredibly young to start the season at that level.
I, for one, would count on the Padres to start the young prospect off in Lake Elsinore at the beginning of the 2018 campaign. There is no need to rush him, and having him up in a league he is not ready for can only hurt him. The Padres should play it safe and start Fernando Tatis Jr. off in Lake Elsinore in 2018. He can make his way up to San Antonio later on in the year if his play dictates that.
Luis Urias was in a similar predicament last season, as he skipped San Antonio and went to Triple-A El Paso from Single-A Lake Elsinore at the end of the year. Urias was playing very well in Lake Elsinore and was promoted for the Chihuahuas’ playoff run that eventually led them to a Pacific Coast League title.
While he played extremely well in his time with El Paso, he still started the 2017 season in Double-A. That just shows you that the Padres had a plan, and they were not going to go against that plan regardless of how well Urias performed. I believe that the Padres have the same mindset regarding Fernando Tatis Jr.
Now that Tatis is up in San Antonio, what are they going to do with Javier Guerra? Guerra was one of the main components of the Craig Kimbrel trade between the Padres and the Red Sox after the 2015 season. Since being acquired, Guerra has not produced offensively and some say he has fallen out of the Padres’ future plans.
Guerra was promoted to San Antonio earlier this year and has since been playing shortstop for the Missions. A pretty good shortstop at that. But now that Tatis Jr. is there, it seems like Guerra is going to get significantly less time at the position. We will see how the playing time is distributed.
Missions’ manager, Phillip Wellman, looks like he is going to spread the wealth at shortstop and let both play there…maybe even a sprinkle of Urias at shortstop as well. Frankly, we do not know what will happen to Javier Guerra now that Tatis Jr. is on the Missions.
Like I said, I do not expect the Padres’ front office to rush things with Fernando Tatis Jr. Do not expect him to have a quicker path to the big leagues now that he is in Double-A. He will likely reach the majors at the same pace now as he would have if he stayed in Fort Wayne or had only been promoted one level. Fernando Tatis’ future is one that is very interesting and I, like many other fans of the San Diego Padres ‘organization, will be sure to keep a keen eye on. Where he plays next year has yet to be determined.