Fernando Tatís Jr., last 162 games played:
.287 batting average
.369 on base percentage
.618 slugging percentage
54 home runs
36 stolen bases
— Codify, Inc. (@CodifyBaseball) August 11, 2021
However, recent injury struggles with his left shoulder have pushed the organization to look at other options for their shortstop.
He has partially dislocated his shoulder three times this season, with the most recent coming on July 30.
This has been a troubling blow for a Padres team that is looking to make a final playoff push.
Because of this, Tatis’ health is firmly on the team’s mind as the end of the season approaches.
Now, he has begun taking reps in the outfield in hopes to return for the Padres playoff run.
Here are the three primary reasons for the move.
1. Avoiding The Injured Shoulder
A large part of Tatis’ game is his flair on defense.
He has the capacity to make big time plays on the infield, including diving for balls and making spinning throws.
There is hope that a move to the outfield will limit the amount of diving and strain he puts on his left shoulder.
This would be critical for the team, as another stint on the injured list would likely be season-ending for Tatis.
Fernando Tatís Jr. went to the locker room after an apparent shoulder injury
Hope he's OK 🙏
— B/R Walk-Off (@BRWalkoff) July 31, 2021
For a Padres team that holds the second Wild Card position, this would be a difficult loss.
The team’s World Series hopes also likely rest on Tatis’ unstable shoulder, as his transcendent talent could carry the Padres.
While protecting the shoulder is their number one priority, there is another reason for the move.
This revolves around the organization’s moves during the deadline, and putting their best group of players on the field.
2. The Tatis Move Improves The Lineup
Prior to the trade deadline, the Padres picked up Pittsburgh Pirates All-Star and National League batting average leader Adam Frazier.
Frazier is known for his utility skills, playing both infield and outfield.
However, he is a much better second baseman than outfielder.
— MLB (@MLB) May 2, 2021
Prior to Tatis’ injury, there was a logjam of infielders the forced players to move positions.
Since Tatis was placed on the injured list, Jake Cronenworth has proved his skill at shortstop, while Frazier has continued his stellar play at second base.
This allows the Padres to keep their best offensive players in good defensive positions.
On top of this, Tatis has played poorly at shortstop, committing a league-leading 20 errors.
With his raw athleticism, there is belief that he would be better suited in the outfield in the long term.
— K.C. Alfred (@KCAlfredPhoto) August 10, 2021
This injury appears to have opened the door for the Padres to make that move.
3. Tatis Clears Spot For C.J. Abrams
The Padres currently have one of the best shortstop prospects developing in the minor leagues.
Abrams projects as a future All-Star and will likely be the team’s shortstop of the future.
CJ Abrams fits right in with Slam Diego 💥 pic.twitter.com/hTLcLZ5fO1
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) March 16, 2021
Tatis was the only person standing in the way of this, and the team planned on eventually moving him to the outfield anyway.
Now, they have a reason to accelerate this process.
While the move could help them in the short term, it may also prove fruitful in the long term.
This is especially true if Tatis becomes an effective defender in the outfield.
Abrams would eventually join the Padres and add to their wide foundation of talented position players.
With each of these reasons, it is no surprise that the Padres are going to test Tatis in the outfield.