Ever since exploding onto the scene in 2019, Fernando Tatís Jr. has lit the baseball world on fire. Through only 118 career games, Tatís has established himself as the undisputed face of baseball, supplanting local weatherman and part-time baseball god Mike Trout in less than a single season.
Doubting me? Take a look at their Statcast data:
|Player||Max Exit Velo||Longest HR||Launch Angle (°)||Swing %||Sprint Speed|
|Fernando Tatís Jr.||113.4||448||9.7°||22.7||29.3|
Immediately you can see Tatís has the edge in his peripherals. His longest home run this year went way further than Trout’s, and his hardest-hit ball further solidifies his argument as the physically stronger player. And when you can hit the ball that hard and that far, you want to be swinging as much as you can to maximize your results. Tatís clearly doesn’t miss any chances to crush the baseball, and ranks among the league leaders in that category as well.
For what it’s worth, Tatís is also lighter on his feet, with a near-elite sprint speed at 29.3 feet per second (elite being around 30 ft/sec).
Let’s see how they stack up through their first 100 games:
|Fernando Tatís Jr.||100||76||7||71||5||20||3|
As you can see above, Tatís outpaces Trout in just about every major statistical category. He scores more than Trout did, knocks in more RBI, and hits more triples.
Through his first 100 games, Tatís has also been more willing put his body in harm’s way for his team, reaching first on five hit by pitches compared to Trout’s four. His sacrifice flies, while trailing Trout, also signify his ability to put the ball in play when his team needed a run.
But stats aren’t everything here. Let’s take a look at what really matters, the hardware. On the surface, this is where Trout has the upper hand, but when you go deeper, you’ll see Tatís is not far off.
While Trout may have taken home the Rookie of the Year trophy in his first season in 2012, Tatís’ hopes for the award were dashed when his rookie campaign was cut short due to a back injury. Instead, he finished in third place with a sterling .317/.379/.590 slash line in only 372 trips to the plate in 2019. Even still, he was widely considered to be a frontrunner for the award, and if he had played out the full year, there’s a significant chance he would have taken home the trophy, and may have even been in the conversation for Most Valuable Player as well.
This brings us to the 2019 All-Star game, where Tatís was once again snubbed in favor of Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong. While DeJong is a fine player, his .258 average paled in comparison to Tatís’ .327 mark, and DeJong grounded into eight double plays compared to Tatís’ three in the first half. If not for injuries and an All-Star snub, Tatís would be right on pace to match Trout’s achievements.
In his relatively short time in the majors, Fernando Tatís has clearly established himself as the best player in baseball. He’s younger, more exciting, and just plain better than Trout in pretty much all facets of the game.
To put it in the parlance of top ESPN analyst Alex Rodriguez, “Tiger Woods, LeBron James, Michael Jordan… Fernando Tatís Jr.”
Baseball’s future is very bright.