MONDAY: Tatis will indeed undergo season-ending thumb surgery, Acee reports. Still, the hope is that Tatis will be able to play winter ball and enter camp next spring at full speed.
FRIDAY: Much-hyped Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. — son of the former major-leaguer of the same name — is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the season, Jeff Sanders and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune report.
Tatis may well require surgery on his left thumb after injuring it last night, though that has not yet been decided. Indeed, full details of the injury and expected procedure aren’t yet fully clear. More will be known after swelling has subsided.
Fortunately, early indications are that there’s no reason to fear that the injury will limit Tatis in the long run, even if surgery is necessary. That certainly reduces the reason for worry. Needless to say, the 19-year-old shortstop’s future remains of great importance to the San Diego organization.
Since coming to the Friars in one of the most notable heists in recent memory, Tatis has soared up prospect charts. This year, Tatis has posted a .286/.355/.507 slash with 16 homers and 16 steals at the Double-A level. He’s widely considered one of the very best minor-league talents around. Indeed, Fangraphs just rated his contract rights the 39th most valuable asset in all of baseball.
Barring a surprise, Tatis would not have reached the majors this year or pressed for a job out of camp in 2019. But a mid-season call-up next season was certainly a distinct possibility. It may still be, to be sure, but Tatis will now miss some valuable development time. Phenom though he may be, there’s certainly room for improvement in his game — in particular, a 27.7% strikeout rate.
Ultimately, there’s plenty of time still for Tatis to mature into the complete player the Padres think he will be. This injury seems quite unlikely to change his trajectory.