Flair, speed, power… he really has it all, and he is an extremely tough out for opposing pitchers.
At the moment, he has a career .292/.369/.596 line with 81 home runs in 273 games.
That represents an average of 48 blasts per 162 games.
It’s a really impressive average, more like what we saw 20 or 30 years ago.
Seeing him hit 42 home runs in just 130 games while struggling with a shoulder injury makes us wonder: how many round-trippers will he hit when all is said and done?
Fernando Tatis Jr. has 64 homers in his first 202 career games – most in MLB history, surpassing Judge and Alonso. Both of them were 24-26 years old when they went on their career-opening barrages. Tatis has gone on his at ages 20-22. What an astoundingly gifted player.
— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) June 26, 2021
He just turned 23, and he will play the whole 2022 campaign at that age.
The Projections Are Impressive
Let’s assume, for the purposes of this exercise, that there will be a full 162-game calendar this year.
It’s pretty clear that Tatis is already a top performer, and even if he doesn’t have another gear in him (it’s possible!), what he did in 2021 represents a solid floor for the next five or six years at the very least.
So, let’s say he hits an average of 40 home runs per season over the next six campaigns.
That would be 240 more homers to add to his current 81 tally: that would be 321 blasts through his age-28 season.
Very few hitters have hit 321 home runs when reaching 28 years old, so that would already put Tatis on track for the Hall of Fame.
Of course, he would need his shoulder to hold up as well as avoid additional injuries.
However, if he hit 42 homers in 130 games, it’s safe to assume that, as long as he remains in top physical condition, he can at least reach 40 per year if he remains healthy, for at least a few more years.
His prime could extend further than the aforementioned five or six years beyond this point, but let’s be conservative for now.
What Will His Homer Tally Look Like Considering A Smooth Decline?
Let’s say he begins to slowly decline when he starts his age-29 season and lowers his season average to 30 over the next three or four years.
If he hits an average of 30 over those next four campaigns, that would be 120, which added to his 321 tally, it would be 441 through his age-32 season.
Assuming he would average somewhere around 20 per season after that for the next, say, five years, he would finish at around 541.
He has a lot of ground to cover to get there, but it seems like a reasonable number all things considered.
Of course, he could go off and surpass 650, but 541 feels like a fair guess at this point.
If he were to finish at 541, he would rank 16th in the history of the game, tied with David Ortiz.
The most exciting thing about Tatis is that he could render these projections moot and hit 45 per year until he is 36 or 37.
That could put him on track for almost 700 home runs.
The first three-HR game in @tatis_jr's career.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 26, 2021
He is truly a special player: if health remains on his side for most of his career, he could finish with some really impressive numbers.