On Friday, top Padres prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. On Saturday, he made more -- and much louder -- contact.
The 19-year-old shortstop finished 2-for-3 with his third home run since making his season debut in the Dominican Republic on Nov. 14, but the Estrellas Orientales fell to the host Leones del Escogido, 5-4. He was also hit by a pitch and stole a base.
Slotted as MLB.com's No. 2 overall prospect, Tatis rocketed up the rankings with an unforgettable 2017 (.278/.379/.498 with 22 homers and 32 steals while reaching Double-A San Antonio at age 18), but was limited to 88 games during the regular season this year. Still, he belted 16 homers and 22 doubles and stole 16 bags as he put together a .355 on-base percentage in the Texas League before undergoing thumb surgery in July.
Video: San Antonio's Tatis hits leadoff home run
In his return to competitive action last week, the phenom homered off Royals left-hander Jake Kalish in his first at-bat, walked twice and stole a base to lead the Estrellas to a 4-2 win over the Gigantes del Cibao. He had two hits -- although one was another dinger -- over his next four games, but went 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored on Wednesday.Offseason MiLB include
Stepping up to the dish against Cardinals right-hander Chris Ellis in his first at-bat Saturday, Tatis was hit by a pitch. The right-handed hitter got revenge by swiping second, then singling to the opposite field against Ellis in the third and taking him deep to left for a two-run homer in the fifth.
He's producing a .268/.412/.643 line with four extra-base hits, seven RBIs and three stolen bases over eight games in the Dominican Republic this offseason. He hit .246/.358/.386 with one home run over 17 games with the Estrellas Orientales last winter.