Earlier than Fernando Tatis Jr. achieved Main League stardom and have become one of many faces of baseball, he was yet one more teenage prospect from the Dominican Republic — albeit one with a giant league pedigree. Previous to signing his first take care of the Chicago White Sox, Tatis impressed Marco Paddy, the membership’s worldwide scouting director, along with his want to develop into “the Dominican Derek Jeter.”
It stays a purpose he is held onto all through the years. “After I see Derek Jeter, I see respect, and that is what I wish to be,” Tatis instructed ESPN’s Jeff Passan in 2020.
When Tatis makes his 2022 debut after finishing his restoration from a wrist harm, the second will mark the start of an abbreviated fourth season with the San Diego Padres. In 1998, Jeter’s fourth 12 months with the New York Yankees culminated in a World Sequence win through four-game sweep over San Diego, as detailed within the second episode of the ESPN Movies documentary “The Captain”.
It’s presumptuous to imagine Tatis will finish his fourth season in the identical trend — even after the Padres’ huge commerce deadline acquisitions — however there are many causes to imagine Tatis will proceed to construct a résumé worthy of comparability to Jeter.
In 2020, when the Padres visited the Miami Marlins in late July, Tatis blasted his thirtieth homer of the season, reaching the mark after simply 82 video games. In doing so, he grew to become solely the third shortstop to hit 30 residence runs in a season earlier than age 23. Jeter, then the Marlins’ CEO, had given Tatis the proverbial tip of the cap earlier than the sport.
“He can do all the pieces,” Jeter stated. “He is numerous enjoyable to look at, whether or not it is protection, offense, working the bases.
After the Padres acquired Tatis in a 2016 commerce with the White Sox for pitcher James Shields, hype constructed rapidly throughout the group as Tatis tore by means of the minors.
“The primary time I watched him play was in 2017, in a prospects sport at Petco Park,” stated Padres outfielder Wil Myers, the longest-tenured participant on San Diego’s roster. “I keep in mind considering: ‘This dude is the actual deal.’ He is essentially the most dynamic participant I’ve ever seen up shut and private in my profession.”
Evaluating each shortstops in the beginning of their respective careers reveals similarities that shade favorably towards Tatis. In his first three full seasons with the Padres, Tatis posted a 13.6 WAR. In Jeter’s first three years with the Yankees, his quantity was 7.9, regardless of taking part in in 58 extra video games than Tatis. Jeter hit .300 over that span, whereas Tatis has posted a batting common of .293. So far as energy is worried, the Padres shortstop mashed 81 homers to Jeter’s 20.
Following a dramatic, storybook last evening as a participant in Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter jumps into a brand new life after baseball.
When discussing the all-important intangibles, Jeter’s work ethic was considered legendary.
“In relation to main by instance, you can not do higher than Derek Jeter,” Yankees proprietor Hal Steinbrenner instructed MLB.com. “His work ethic, the way in which he carried out himself, the issues he stated, there’s by no means [anyone] higher.”
Equally, Tatis’ willingness to do the work with a view to get higher over time has not gone unnoticed.
“I like his work ethic,” stated Junior Lake, who performs for the Mexican League’s Tijuana Toros and is a former winter league teammate of Tatis. “He is the kind of participant who involves play with the identical degree of effort every single day.”
These traits and the early returns on Tatis prompted the Padres to supply a landmark 14-year, $340 million extension earlier than the 2021 season. On the information convention saying the deal, Tatis defined why he made such a prolonged dedication at 21 years previous.
“I would like that statue,” he instructed reporters, referring partly to the bronze sculpture of late Padres legend Tony Gwynn eternally watching over Petco Park behind right-center discipline.
In evoking Gwynn and idolizing Jeter, it is clear Tatis hungers to comply with an identical path — each Gwynn and Jeter performed for one group throughout their respective careers en path to Cooperstown.
That sense of loyalty and belonging extends throughout all of Tatis’ skilled endeavors. Within the Dominican Republic’s winter league, Tatis has performed solely for Estrellas Orientales in his native San Pedro de Macoris. Managed by Fernando Tatis Sr., the workforce gained the 2018-19 league crown, snapping a 51-year drought within the course of.
“Fernando and his father would arrive collectively to the stadium, they usually’d go proper into the supervisor’s workplace to look at video and discuss concerning the subsequent sport,” stated Lake, who was a member of that workforce. “There are lots of gamers who’ve that degree of expertise and talent, however the [work ethic] is what units Fernando aside.”
Off the sector, Tatis appears to even be following in Jeter’s footsteps as probably the most seen — and marketable — ballplayers within the final quarter century. Tatis reached videogame stardom when he graced the duvet of MLB2K in 2021, a feat Jeter achieved three straight years between 2005-07.
When Gatorade signed Tatis to an endorsement deal in 2020, the model’s head of sports activities advertising, Jeff Kearney, likened the Padres star to Jeter himself.
“Jeter had such swagger,” Kearney instructed CNBC. “Strolling on the diamond, you simply knew he was any person, and should you did not know who he was, you knew he was necessary. I feel Tatis brings that.”
After all, there may be nonetheless a key part of Jeter’s lasting success that Tatis has but to the touch: profitable within the postseason. By the point Jeter was 23 — as Tatis is now — he had gained a World Sequence, hitting a lofty .361 in October to assist the Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves in six video games. He would go on to win one other 4 and earn 2000 Sequence MVP honors.
Tatis has barely sniffed the playoffs in his profession, with the Padres reaching the postseason simply as soon as in that span. With the Padres down 4-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals in Sport 2 of the 2020 NL Wild Card Sequence after dropping the opener, Tatis mashed two homers that sparked an 11-9 victory. The Padres would advance to the NLDS, however Tatis managed simply two hits in 11 at-bats because the Los Angeles Dodgers swept San Diego.
Nonetheless, San Diego’s persevering with effort to construct a winner took a critical leap with this summer time’s acquisitions of Juan Soto, Josh Bell, Josh Hader and Brandon Drury — giving the Padres six present or former All-Stars in time for a postseason run. Even when among the names surrounding Tatis change, the famous person shortstop is primed to proceed constructing a legacy that may match — or surpass — his idol.
“Clearly Derek Jeter had a fantastic profession, however Fernando Tatis is any person who I feel can do much more due to the kind of expertise to take over a sport like he can,” Myers stated.