Padres’ Fernando Tatis Jr. does the splits on a steal, launches home run in return from IL
Fernando Tatis Jr. didn’t take long after coming off the injured list to remind baseball fans why he’s one of the game’s most exciting young talents.
Against the Rockies on Wednesday, the Padres shortstop led off the bottom of the second inning with a single up the middle before showing off his speed — and flexibility. He swiped second base — his eighth steal of the season — while first baseman Eric Hosmer was batting, and did the splits to keep his foot on the bag.
When he next came to the plate, the 22-year-old Tatis showed off his power. He turned a 91.5 mph fastball into a 108.4 mph fly ball, per Baseball Savant, easily clearing the left-center field fence for his 10th home run of the year.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he crushed a double his third trip to the plate that had a 112 mph exit velocity and an .870 expected batting average. The only batted ball more likely to be a hit was his home run earlier in the game — and he wasn’t the only player to hit a home run on Wednesday.
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Tatis seems to be at another level when he comes back from an extended absence. When he hit the field Wednesday, it was his first appearance for the Padres in eight games since he tested positive for the coronavirus. Earlier in the year, he missed 10 days with a shoulder injury. In his return then, on April 16 against the Dodgers, he hit a home run 410 feet with an exit velocity of 106.1 mph in his third at-bat against Walker Buehler.
When he has been on the field this season, he has been sensational. His hard-hit rate is in the 89th percentile and his barrel rate is in the 93rd percentile, according to Baseball Savant, while his sprint speed is in the 95th percentile.
During the shortened 2020 MLB campaign, he hit 17 home runs and swiped 11 bases while also slashing .277/.366/.571. With his power and speed, he’s must-see baseball any time he’s stepping to the plate — and when he’s on the basepaths.
Article Found At – Sporting News