The San Diego Padres are one of the most exciting teams in baseball, and it all starts with their young core.
The club is way ahead of schedule and is currently sitting at second place in a very competitive National League West with a 37-25 record.
The youth of the Padres is the identity of the team, and it’s something that every fan can get behind.
Here are the Padres’ three best players under 26 years old.
3. Trent Grisham
Trent Grisham is in his third MLB season, and he’s been impressive thus far.
The 22-year-old spent his first season with the Milwaukee Brewers before being traded to San Diego.
He showed flashes of potential in his one season with Milwaukee, managing a decent .738 OPS over 51 games, but he really started to flourish when the Padres picked him up.
Over 59 games with San Diego in 2020, Grisham batted .251 with an OPS of .808, adding 10 home runs and 31 runs driven in.
He earned Gold Glove honors for his elite outfield defense.
This season, Grisham has really blossomed into a potential star.
He is batting .301 with an excellent OPS+ of 156, and has 15 extra-base-hits over 36 games (if that number seems low, it’s because he has missed the last couple of weeks with a heel bruise).
Grisham’s defense has again been elite this season, which is reflected in his 0.5 defensive WAR and 2.1 overall WAR.
Trent Grisham is elite.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 22, 2021
The young star is an extremely solid element of a Padres lineup that rakes.
2. Ryan Weathers
Ryan Weathers is having an outstanding rookie season for the Padres.
The 21-year-old pitcher has made 13 appearances (eight starts) and has managed a 2.44 ERA, 151 ERA+, and 1.02 WHIP.
Weathers actually made his MLB debut in the postseason in 2020.
He tossed 1.1 scoreless innings in Game 1 of the Padres’ NLDS matchup with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Evidently, the moment is never too big for the young star.
Further evidence of that claim can be found if you look at the way Weathers has performed in high-leverage situations this year.
In high-leverage spots, the rookie has limited opposing hitters to a .125 average, .167 on-base percentage, and .313 slugging percentage.
Weathers’ youth is the most exciting part of all of this—he is nowhere near done developing as a player.
It will be exciting to see where he goes from here.
1. Fernando Tatis Jr.
No consideration was given to any other player for the top spot on this list.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is arguably the best young player in all of baseball—let alone on the Padres—and it’s very clear why.
At 20, Tatis finished third in the Rookie of the Year race (over just 84 games, too) after batting .317 with a .967 OPS and 22 home runs.
Had Tatis played that entire season, he would have been on a 42-homer pace.
At 21, Tatis slashed .277/.366/.571 with 17 home runs over the COVID-shortened 2020 season, finishing fourth in MVP voting.
Had that, too, been a full season, he would have been on a 47-homer pace.
At 22, we are finally going to get a taste of what Tatis can do over a full 162.
Through 44 games this season, Tatis is batting .283 with a 1.026 OPS.
He leads the league in home runs (17), OPS+ (187), and stolen bases (13).
Despite missing a couple of weeks earlier in the season with an injury, Tatis is currently the betting favorite to win the NL MVP Award.
With the Padres playing well and Tatis being such a big part of that, it’s hard to dispute the claim that he’s in the mix for the award.
Fernando Tatis Jr. is the most electric player in baseball and I don’t believe it’s close. pic.twitter.com/ed8r0qOLes
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) June 4, 2021
Tatis has an incredibly bright future and there’s no telling what his ceiling is, if he even has one.