February 24, 2018

By Chris Ello, February 23, 2018


Fernando Tatis Jr., Major League Baseball’s youngest player, is now officially old-hat when it comes to the home run ball. It didn’t take long for him to hit one a long way.


The 19-year-old Tatis Jr. blasted a solo shot to the opposite field in the 8th-inning of the Padres’ 3-2 spring-opening loss Friday to the Seattle Mariners.


Already ranked as baseball’s No. 8 prospect, and younger than any other player in a big league training camp, the hype surrounding the shortstop had started long before he connected off the Mariners’ right-hander Shawn Armstrong on a 1-2 pitch. Watch the hype-machine crank up now.


Hey…should Freddy Galvis be concerned? Ha, ha. The veteran shortstop, acquired from Philadelphia to hold down a spot in the lineup until Tatis Jr. matures, will still be the starter when the Padres break camp and get set to host the Milwaukee Brewers in the March 29 season-opener. And Tatis Jr., will most-likely be back at Double-A San Antonio getting groomed for what Padres fans and execs are hoping is going to be a bright future.


But what a way to start!


After a long, eight-pitch battle, he struck out in his first at-bat on Friday. Then, in his second at-bat, he simply struck, taking a fastball the other way and launching it into the right-field bullpen in Peoria, Ariz. You know the old saying: “If he can play in Peoria…..”


Tatis Jr. certainly proved he could play in Fort Wayne, Ind., becoming the first player in the 25-year-history of the Padres’ Single-A franchise to hit as many has 20 home runs in one season (he finished with 21). Then he went to San Antonio and held his own there.


Many are expecting, that after another year of seasoning in the minors, he’ll be late-season call-up to the Padres this September. If Friday is any indication, he may not wait that long.