There’s been plenty of heat put on San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller for some of the moves he has made over the course of the last few years. One move he got right was acquiring Fernando Tatis Jr. from the Chicago White Sox as a teenager, who he then inked to a 14-year extension worth $340 million in Spring Training.
All Tatis has done in his first three seasons in the big leagues is earn 13.6 Wins Above Replacement, hit 81 home runs, drive in 195 runs, and steal 52 bases. That’s just his stats for his first three years in San Diego. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he’s already been on the cover of MLB The Show and starring in Gatorade commercials.
As far as his 2021 season goes, Tatis solidified himself as the best shortstop in baseball and was easily the Padres team MVP. His 6.6 WAR was the highest on the team, sixth highest among all position players, and 1.5 wins more than Manny Machado. His 7.3 offensive WAR was also the best in baseball. Let me remind you that Tatis’ WAR and NL-leading 42 home runs was with him missing 30 games due to multiple shoulder subluxations.
Tatis suffered a few subluxations this season (one swinging, one fielding, one base running), which made every Padres fan hold their breath when he would go crumbling to the ground. You can see his first subluxation from this season below. Scroll right past it if you don’t want to see it again.
Because of his injuries, the MVP voters could use that against him over guys like Juan Soto and Bryce Harper, who were able to stay relatively healthy all year for their teams. However, if Tatis wasn’t on the field for 130 games, there’s no way the Friars would have been in the Wild Card race in September. Not to mention he was willing to switch positions in the middle of the season to help increase his chances of staying on the field so he could help his team win every night.
Tatis hit 26 home runs in games that San Diego won, hitting .365 with a .799 slugging percentage and driving in 67 runs. Harper, on the other hand, hit .367 with a .753 slugging percentage and 12 less runs batted in than Tatis (55).
We all know Tatis is great and it’s difficult to describe how unique he is so I leave you with some highlights of his 2021 (hopefully MVP) season.