Fernando Tatis Jr. quickly found out why the jump to Double-A is lauded by many as the most difficult in the Minor Leagues. His numbers may not have jumped off the page since the top Padres prospect was promoted to San Antonio last season, but he seems to be starting to put all the pieces together.
Tatis finished a homer shy of the cycle Thursday, driving in three runs and scoring twice in the Missions' 13-6 victory over the RoughRiders. The 19-year-old has gone 7-for-17 with two homers and six RBIs in the past three games at Dr Pepper Ballpark.
Video: Missions' Tatis Jr. lines two-run triple to right
MLB.com's eighth-ranked prospect played in 14 games in his Texas League debut last year, batting .255 with a .608 OPS. He also started off somewhat slowly last year, hitting .230 in April with Class A Fort Wayne. But he left the Midwest League with a .281/.390/.520 slash line, 21 homers and 29 stolen bases. He leapfrogged Class A Advanced and was promoted to San Antonio in August.
"It's a hard level. He's a young kid and if you play good [at Double-A], you can play good in the Majors," Missions hitting coach Raul Padron said after Tatis' 3-for-5 performance Tuesday. "It's good for him to know he doesn't have everything figured out. But I think he's going to come back big after this game. His confidence is getting there."
Gameday box score
Tatis reached on a fielding error by third baseman Luis La O to lead off the game Thursday, then stung his first triple of the season to right field in the next frame, driving in a pair. After flying out in the third, Tatis laced a fifth-inning double to center and followed with a single up the middle in the sixth.
He struck out and popped out in his final two at-bats to fall short of the cycle, but brought his average up to .212 after hitting .412 over the past three games.
Ty France slugged a three-run homer, Rod Boykins went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs and Padres No. 15 prospect Josh Naylor was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Preston Beck launched a two-run homer and Correlle Prime went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles for the RoughRiders.