To add to a season riddled with problems stemming from injuries to poor all-around play, Fernando Tatis Jr. missed out on another potential NL MVP award. This may be upsetting to fans now but I believe that he will take home the gold next year and claim a huge spot in the history books.
The Stats Don’t Lie
Storming onto the MLB scene in 2019, Tatis Jr. had the most talk surrounding his potential to be a HOF shortstop given his father of the same name played pro ball back in the day. His impact was felt immediately that season when he batted .317 with 22 homers and 53 RBIs in 84 games played. To add to this, he also had a career high six triples which aided his ascent to become a Rookie of the Year candidate but fell short, placing third in voting. The Padres had success buying stars the to come and play for them the season prior yet on the same token, Tatis was the largest burst of hope for this organization.
Not many (if any) players like him were coming through their system at the time and I believe they hadn’t seen a home-grown talent this good since the drafting of Jake Peavy. I mean what more could you ask for when you posses a player, specifically a shortstop, who could hit for power, steal bases, and throw 90+ mph across the diamond? Trading for large market players is good and all but when you produce prospects that show poise to produce at the big league level early on, it sets up your future nicely.
Although he finished fourth overall in NL MVP voting during the covid-shortened 2020 season, he was able to secure his first Silver Slugger for batting .277 with 17 HRs and 45 RBIs ini 59 games played. No All-Star game was held that year otherwise he most certainly would’ve landed himself a spot on the NL’s roster. He also helped the Padres make the postseason for the first time in fourteen years but went for nod when they lost the NLDS to division rival LA Dodgers. A loss like this usually motivates a club to achieve more the following year but the Padres entered 2021 with a whole slew of problems not mention thier MVP nominee fighting through injury.
Tatis dealt with four separate occasions of dislocating his shoulder yet was still able to play in 130 games and put up big numbers. This was indeed a career year for the Dominican machine when he set highs in home runs, RBIs, walks, games played, and strikeouts. The latter of that saw him K’d up 153 times in 546 appearances in the box which was most likely due to injury and over-swinging. His endurance through the shoulder pain was admirable but it caused him to fall into a slump in September, a month that encapsulates playoff pushes. Even so, the outlook for this stud and his club is looking more and more positive as they recover from injuries and work with new manager Bob Melvin to come prepared for the 2022 season.
Future Outlook for Fernando
Sure, you could make the argument that he may not win MVP next season due to his injury flare ups this year or the fact that I don’t know what I’m talking about but the anticipation for him to claim this title won’t change. One thing that worries me right now is the fact that he is striking out way too much and not walking enough. Fellow slugger Aaron Judge encountered the same problem when he got called up but practiced more patience at the plate and improved his numbers as of late. If Judge, a power-hitting right fielder, can find a way to do this then so can Tatis if he puts his nose to the ground and starts working on it now.
Something else for him to work on is his lack of attention to fielding the ball before throwing which has resulted in him committing a career-high 62 errors in 2021. In his defense, the Padres did move him between RF and CF for 27 games to ease him back into play, I would assume, which only showed executives why Jayce Tingler was not meant to lead that team. If Tatis can manage to fix all the things mentioned above while staying healthy for a majority of the season then the MVP award is as good as his next year. Many people and ballplayers forget that when it comes to being successful in sports, you have to practice the basics in order to master your craft.
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