Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is expected to miss the remainder of the season, manager Andy Green tells reporters including Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). The exceptional rookie is dealing with a back issue that drove him to the injured list earlier today and is evidently more serious than had originally been hoped.
It’s exceedingly disappointing news for fans of the San Diego organization, who have long awaited the arrival of a superstar of just this kind. Tatis has more than justified the hype that preceded his ascension to the majors at the outset of the season.
Through 372 plate appearances, Tatis carries an eye-popping .317/.379/.590 batting line with 22 home runs and 16 steals. He’s not carrying the greatest strikeout and walk numbers, lagging the league average in both areas, but has had little trouble making loud contact. Tatis is also a big positive on the bases and has shown a flair for the dramatic in the field — even if metrics aren’t glowing in their overall evaluation of his fielding performance.
Details on the injury still aren’t fully known, but it’s not difficult to see the reasoning behind the pessimistic outlook. There isn’t much reason to push a rehab schedule to get Tatis back in the bigs for a brief stretch, particularly if it means risking a more significant injury. The Padres aren’t going to crack the postseason this year regardless.
That said, it’s still a tough pill to swallow. The Friars drew ample attention when they carried Tatis on the Opening Day roster, passing on a chance to gain an extra season of control by holding him down for a few weeks to open the season. That was a questionable, if ultimately admirable, decision that obviously paid off in some ways even if it means some future sacrifices. The club will now lose the chance to draw fans to the yard to see Tatis over the next six weeks. Regardless, Tatis is one of the most exciting and most valuable player assets in the game.