Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. splits on flight, throws home homer of IL
Fernando Tatis Jr. was quick to retire from the injured list to remind baseball fans why he is one of the most exciting young talents in the game.
Against the Rockies on Wednesday, the Padres shortstop started the end of the second inning with a single down the middle before showing off his speed – and flexibility. He swept the second base – his eighth steal of the season – as first baseman Eric Hosmer struck and split to keep his foot on the sack.
When it came next to the plate, Tatis, 22, showed his power. He turned a 91.5 mph fastball into a 108.4 mph flying ball, by Baseball Savant, easily crossing the fence of the center-left field for his 10th home run of the year.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he smashed a double on his third trip to the plate which had an exit speed of 112 mph and an expected batting average of 0.870. The only batted ball more likely to be a hit was his home run earlier in the game – and he wasn’t the only player to throw one over the fence on Wednesday.
Tatis seems to be on another level when he comes back from an extended absence. When he hit the pitch on Wednesday, it was his first appearance for the Padres in eight games since testing positive for the coronavirus. Earlier this year, he missed 10 days with a shoulder injury. On his return on April 16 against the Dodgers, he hit a 410-foot homeroom with an exit speed of 106.1 mph in his third at bat against Walker Buehler.
When he’s been on the pitch this season he’s been sensational. Its hard hit rate is in the 89th percentile and its barrel rate is in the 93rd percentile, according to Baseball Savant, while his sprint speed is in the 95th percentile.
In the shortened 2020 MLB campaign, he hit 17 home runs and swept 11 goals while slicing .277 / .366 / .571. With his power and speed, he has to see baseball every time he heads for home plate – and when he’s on the basepaths.