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Fernando Tatis Jr. is all sorts of fun on the basepaths


The San Diego Padres have a very bright future ahead, with the recent addition of Manny Machado and one of the best farm systems in baseball (to go with intriguing young talent already in the majors).

San Diego’s top prospect is Fernando Tatis Jr. (whose dad once hit two grand slams in one inning), who’s on the current cover of Sports Illustrated with Machado. Tatis, 20, is a consensus top-three prospect in baseball, and would probably be viewed by most as the top prospect in baseball if not for the Toronto Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero Jr.  Tatis — listed at 6’3″, 185 — has huge upside offensively, and he plays a premium position defensively at shortstop. He has a massive ceiling.

It turns out he’s also a fast, adventurous baserunner. On a hit-and-run in Friday night’s spring training game against the Colorado Rockies, Tatis scored from first a routine single to center field from San Diego’s Austin Hedges. Tatis may have been out if the Rockies realized he was trying to score, but he caught them by surprise and used a headfirst slide to beat the throw at the plate.

Earlier in the game, Tatis stole second, stole third, and scored on another Hedges single.

Both of the hits were also thanks to Tatis’ speed on infield singles. Scouts clocked Tatis getting down the first base line in 4.15 seconds out of the right-handed batter’s box.

Everything about Tatis on the basepaths, and his game in general (the power, hit tool, shortstop defense, etc), seems very Javy Baez-esque. Baez actually had a similar baserunning play to Tatis’ on Friday that served as the go-ahead run to beat the Padres in a game last season.

Unfortunately, we’ll likely still have to wait a bit to see Tatis playing real games in the majors. He hasn’t played a game above Double-A yet and the Padres surely will be very careful with his development. But it’s pretty clear that he’ll a very entertaining player when he’s finally up in the bigs.

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