Fernando Tatis Jr. revealed early Friday afternoon that he wouldn’t be competing in this year’s Home Run Derby, then went out and staged his own home run derby.
Tatis, one of the most dynamic young players in the game, scored three times in the San Diego Padres’ 11-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks from Petco Park, bringing his National League leader tally. at 25. Tatis is now tied for the major league. leads with another young star, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Toronto Blue Jays, who has also decided not to participate in this year’s derby.
Right behind them is two-way Los Angeles Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani, who hit one on the podium at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., For his 24th home run on Friday. A week earlier, Ohtani became the first player to enter the upcoming Home Run Derby from Coors Field in Denver.
“Ever since I was a kid, it was on my bucket list,” Tatis said of his three-homer game, the 12th in Padres history. “Today we did it with pleasure. “
THREE HOME RUNS TONIGHT FOR FERNANDO TATIS JR. 😱
He is now tied for most homers this season with 25 😳
– SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 26, 2021
Tatis hit his three home runs in the first four innings, becoming the first Padres player to do so. At the bottom of the first, the 22-year-old shortstop made a 1-1 change near the middle of the plate for D-back starter Corbin Martin and hit him 400 feet down center-left field. In the second, Tatis hit a 2-2 curve in Riley Smith’s outside corner and shot him 373 feet in almost exactly the same spot. And in the fourth, Smith started with a lead and Tatis stayed behind to hit 415 feet just to the right of center field.
Tatis rested on his backswing for a moment, then casually knocked his bat back in the direction of the Padres’ canoe before starting his trot around the bases. Padres manager Jayce Tingler called it the most impressive home run of the night.
“When he’s in control, when he’s just inside himself, he really lets his talent play,” Tingler said. “You’re looking at all three circuits tonight, but they’re just balanced swings. He’s just taking nice, easy swings, he’s in a great position, he’s in no way out of control, he’s not trying to generate of power, and when he can get the barrel with that good balance that he has, the ball can just explode from his bat. “
Tatis has reached 25 homers in just 59 games this season, becoming the fastest player to reach that mark at 22 or under. He also became the youngest Padres player to have amassed a three-homer game, surpassing teammate Trent Grisham, who did so at 23 last season. Tatis is the fourth youngest player with a three home game in the past 50 seasons. The only ones who made it at a younger age are Corey Seager, Yordan Alvarez and Guerrero, who completed three homers on April 27.
“You’d think that would surprise you,” Padres starter Chris Paddack said of Tatis’ exploits, “but at this point it’s expected.”
Tatis had two chances for a four-homer game, but couldn’t capitalize against D-backs right-hander Matt Peacock. He got a 3-0 count in the seventh, then fouled a lead and fielded another lead for a hit to give him 13 goals in total, tying a Padres single game record. In the eighth, Tatis failed on another lead.
“I think I put two good shots on the ball, it didn’t come out, it’s okay,” Tatis said. “I already have three, I can’t get mad at it.”
Tatis told reporters ahead of the game that he would skip this year’s Home Run Derby largely because he didn’t want to risk further injuring his tender left shoulder, which has caused him continual problems since the spring training. Tatis, who estimated the shoulder is at 75%, suffered a subluxation in early April and left a game last Saturday after an attempted dive caused some pain in the area.
Tingler called Tatis to withdraw from the Home Run Derby “a fairly mature decision”.
“I’m 22,” said Tatis, who cuts .293 / .373 / .702 and also has 15 stolen goals. “I feel like there’s going to be more of a chance for me to go to the Home Run Derby. When I go there, I want to put on a pretty good show.”