As a consensus top three farmhand in baseball, shortstop prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. may be able to help the Padres from the outset of the season, but he’s no lock to make the team. After all, by keeping the 20-year-old in the minors until at least mid-April, the Padres would gain an extra year of control over him. Nevertheless, the Padres’ highest-profile player, Manny Machado, is hopeful Tatis will join him on Opening Day to comprise the left side of their infield, per Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required). “If he’s in there, we’re going to be a dangerous team, and I think we’re all rooting for him to break camp with us,” said Machado, an experienced shortstop who’s set to hold down third base for the Padres after signing a 10-year, $300MM contract with them last month. Meanwhile, manager Andy Green isn’t ruling out Tatis for the Padres’ season-opening roster, but he cautioned: “In (Tatis’) case, he’s a couple months above Double-A ball. He’s had two incredibly slow Aprils that unbelievable seasons followed. “So, there’s some context there that we’re going to factor into the equation that other people probably aren’t.”
- As is the case with Tatis, Reds prospect Nick Senzel could be an early season victim of service time manipulation. Senzel’s also trying to learn a new position, center field, as he entered the spring with no game experience there. Already, though, “it’s become clear” Senzel has the ability to handle the position, manager David Bell said Sunday (via John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer). Regardless of whether Senzel’s in center for the Reds from the get-go, the 24-year-old seems like a good bet to see the lion’s share of time at the position for the Reds this year. Senzel’s customary spots – second and third – are spoken for, whereas there’s no established center fielder blocking him in Cincinnati.
- Although he only landed a minor league contract in free agency, first baseman Mark Reynolds is a near certainty to make the Rockies’ Opening Day roster, per Nick Groke of The Athletic (subscription required). If so, he’ll be the primary backup to first baseman Daniel Murphy, another offseason pickup for the club. The 35-year-old Reynolds was teammates with Murphy last season in Washington, where the former turned in a solid .248/.328/.476 line in 235 plate appearances after signing a minors pact with the Nationals in April.
- Braves right-hander Mike Foltynewicz has been down with elbow soreness, but it’s “expected” he’ll resume throwing Monday, Mark Bowman of MLB.com tweets. Foltynewicz isn’t on track to serve as the Braves’ Opening Day starter, but it appears he’ll be able to make his regular-season debut sometime during the first week of the campaign. The 27-year-old will attempt to build on a breakout 2018 showing in which he pitched to a 2.85 ERA/3.37 FIP with 9.93 K/9, 3.34 BB/9 and a 43.1 percent groundball rate over 183 innings.