August 21, 2017
Monday Morning Ten Pack
August 21, 2017
Fernando Tatis Jr, just promoted to Double-A, has generated significant – and deserved – attention for his record-setting season as an 18-year-old in Low-A. He paced Fort Wayne to the playoffs, and will now join a Double-A club that will also be in the playoffs. Tatis Jr. has great body language and always seems to be at the center of a conversation with teammates or coaches in the dugout. He stands out on the field for his long build and legs and has projection through the upper half and shoulders. He clocked in at 4.25 to first base, just at above average for a right-handed batter, which will tick down a bit as he fills out. What won’t tick down is his effort, as he runs hard with energy and perceptive baserunning instincts (e.g. anticipating passed-balls, taking an extra base).
In the field, Tatis showed strong ability with short hops and glove transfers, and his arm is more than enough for shortstop with carry/velocity on-line to first base, though a scout mentioned his need to shorten his arm action as he advances. He is a big target at short and moves well for his height. He’ll stay at short until the body projection limits his range and potentially forces a move to third. In South Bend, he hit five consecutive BP homers to left field/left-center field with balance, showing backspin and lift to center and pull-side. He hit line drives in BP, too, but his swing, power, hard contact and backspin led to the homers– i.e. he’s not selling out for it. Double-plus raw power projection is within reach. Low-A pitchers were either walking him, generating whiffs on well below average sliders low and away (he had 8/9 sw/strikes on sliders in one game), or making mistakes with fastballs and sliders that he took advantage of. His bat speed, even on foul balls, is evident (see 3:20 in video above), and his swing has lift to it.
Tatis Jr. is very much 18 and that shows at the plate when he faces sliders; he gets long in the back with the bat and gets out in front and off-balance. He showed that he has the wrist strength to eventually hold up on those pitches as he checks up his swing. The spin recognition on sliders is not there right now, but most 18-year-olds would have problems with that if put in Low-A. We are a few years, if not more, away from the hit tool becoming an actual concern. Tatis has a medium stride and an angled leg kick (in BP, too) that he sometimes shortens into an abbreviated toe tap, and he showed an ability to draw walks against poor control. In my viewing, he laced doubles to left field/left-center field and right field. He has obvious power potential that is showing with his 21 homers and a .239 ISO to date. Tatis is likely an above-average regular with a definite chance for more. He should be up for the challenge in Double-A and will see the types of sliders he needs to see in order to adjust. — Will Siskel