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Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Fernando Tatis Jr. Preparing To Play Outfield

Fernando Tatis Jr. was placed on the injured list 10 days ago, and it seemed as though the Padres star was perhaps closer to a season-ending surgery on his bothersome shoulder than a return to the field.  Now, however, it looks as if Tatis has once again recovered enough from his latest shoulder issue that he’ll be able to get back into San Diego’s lineup, and a new position appears to be in the works.

Rather than take any grounders at his normal shortstop position, Tatis has instead been working out as an outfielder, with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writing that the Padres are planning to shift Tatis between center field and right field when he returns from the 10-day IL.  Tatis took batting practice on the field yesterday, so if he continues to progress well, it seems like he might not be far away from yet another fairly quick recovery from what seemed to be a serious injury.

While surgery seems inevitable, Tatis and the Padres hope that the procedure can wait until after the season, and the move to the outfield will theoretically help reduce wear-and-tear on Tatis’ shoulder in the interim.  There doesn’t appear to be any concern over how Tatis will be able to handle the position change from a defensive standpoint, as Padres outfield coach Wayne Kirby had rave reviews of Tatis’ workouts.

“His instincts are impeccable.  He shouldn’t have any problem,” Kirby said about Tatis as an outfielder.  “His speed will make up for whatever he doesn’t read.  If he makes a false move, I’m sure he can make an adjustment.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 09:43 AM | 62 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: fernando tatis, jr., padres

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   1. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 11, 2021 at 10:37 AM (#6033805)
Tatis has injured the same shoulder batting, throwing & sliding, if I have the injury history right. Maybe playing the outfield helps him make it through the season, but that seems less than guaranteed, and surgery seems inevitable. Does anyone who follows this more closely know what his medical prospects are? Is this the sort of thing that can have him 100% by spring training?
   2. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: August 11, 2021 at 12:54 PM (#6033831)
Cody Bellinger had a similar issue last year and had surgery after the World Series. He was a little behind schedule for spring Training, but was a full go to start the season.
   3. Darren Posted: August 11, 2021 at 12:59 PM (#6033835)
Cody Bellinger had a similar issue last year and had surgery after the World Series. He was a little behind schedule for spring Training, but was a full go to start the season.


Phew, that's a relief.
   4. Greg Pope Posted: August 11, 2021 at 01:00 PM (#6033836)
And Bellinger has an OPS of 601 right now. No clue whether his struggles are related to the injury/surgery.
   5. Darren Posted: August 11, 2021 at 01:08 PM (#6033838)
Dumb question: is it his throwing shoulder?
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6033840)
Cody Bellinger had a similar issue last year and had surgery after the World Series.

I thought Bellinger was recategorized as a back injury?
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: August 11, 2021 at 01:58 PM (#6033852)
Dumb question: is it his throwing shoulder?


No. (I wondered the same thing).

Given that, it seems like the shift to the outfield may keep him whole.
   8. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:12 PM (#6033856)
I thought Bellinger was recategorized as a back injury?
Bellinger has surgery for dislocated shoulder
   9. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:18 PM (#6033859)
I saw Tatis hurt the shoulder while swinging the bat and while sliding. How did he injure his left shoulder while throwing?

Certainly the Padres and Tatis know more about the situation than I do, but I don't understand how playing the outfield is going to result in less injury than playing shortstop.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:34 PM (#6033862)
Certainly the Padres and Tatis know more about the situation than I do, but I don't understand how playing the outfield is going to result in less injury than playing shortstop.


I would assume they're working on the assumption there's less activity in the outfield than there is at short.
   11. Ron J Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:34 PM (#6033863)
#9 Might be that different types of movements are required in the OF. I mean Robin Yount moved to the OF over concerns of that nature.

And though it's a very different set of concerns, Mickey Mantle retired in 1968 (in part) when told he'd be playing first exclusively in 1969. The stretching and other quick movements required were harder on his body than what would have been required if he'd played left.
   12. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:38 PM (#6033864)
I don't understand how playing the outfield is going to result in less injury than playing shortstop


I think the idea is that an outfielder dives a whole lot less than a shortstop does, and those dives are more instinctual so harder for the player to self-regulate. Outfielders also can crash into the wall, but maybe Tatis feels like he can self-regulate there and diving for balls in the outfield. Stealing bases is a choice, though batting and general baserunning are still risks. The rationale is just to limit those risks they can control.
   13. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:39 PM (#6033865)
Bellinger is a fascinating player. He's always had a big swing with holes. He made an adjustment by stadning closer to the plate, and won the 2019 MVP. I'm guessing it's just an extended slump: his K-rate is high even for him, and his BABIP is low, so it may normalize.
   14. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 11, 2021 at 02:50 PM (#6033868)
Doesn't it seem that a lot more players get hurt playing the outfield than get hurt playing shortstop? Running into walls, running into other players, diving while running at top speed... the only way shortstops tend to get hurt is by turning the double play.

Maybe the Padres feel that the riskiest thing for Tatis is landing on that left arm, and that's the kind of thing a shortstop does more often than an outfielder.
   15. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 03:03 PM (#6033872)
I hope it works out better than the Julio Franco experiment did. Franco was having knee problems in 1992, missing the first 2 weeks of the season then almost the entire month of May before shutting down for good on July 9. Bobby Valentine's bright idea to take the stress off Franco's knees was to send him to the outfield for the first time in his professional career. It was so bad that even Valentine saw what a clown show it was and ended the experiment after 4 games, and remember, Valentine is the guy who gave Pete Incaviglia 20 starts in center field in actual Major League Baseball games.
   16. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 11, 2021 at 03:13 PM (#6033875)
Mickey Mantle retired in 1968 (in part) when told he'd be playing first exclusively in 1969. The stretching and other quick movements required were harder on his body than what would have been required if he'd played left.
According to BB-Ref, and my memory, Mantle played 1st base exclusively in 1967 & 68, 131 games each season, with his only other appearances as a pinch-hitter.
   17. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 11, 2021 at 03:21 PM (#6033876)
Doesn't it seem that a lot more players get hurt playing the outfield than get hurt playing shortstop? Running into walls, running into other players, diving while running at top speed... the only way shortstops tend to get hurt is by turning the double play.


My wild guesstimate is that outfielders suffer catastrophic injuries more often while infielders just generally kind of break down. Tatis seems to be having injuries that while they are of the catastrophic nature seem to be the type that will be exacerbated over time so moving him to the outfield is going to be good for his longevity. It is possible I am hilariously wrong here.
   18. bunyon Posted: August 11, 2021 at 03:24 PM (#6033877)
I think San Diego should redouble their efforts to get the DH MLB wide.
   19. The Yankee Clapper Posted: August 11, 2021 at 03:25 PM (#6033878)
I saw Tatis hurt the shoulder while swinging the bat and while sliding. How did he injure his left shoulder while throwing?
Actually, research indicates the other time was on a diving play in the field, something that isn’t unique to shortstop, and might be expected in the outfield, too. Maybe Tatis will be under wraps in the outfield, but keeping him healthy while playing baseball at the highest level is likely to be a challenge.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: August 11, 2021 at 05:06 PM (#6033893)
Tatis has instead been working out as an outfielder, with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune

That would be a lot more interesting if not for that comma.

I hope it works out better than the Julio Franco experiment did. Franco was having knee problems in 1992

In fairness, Franco was at least 207 years old.

I'm struggling to think of SS moved off the position at a young age due to injury concerns. Happens around 30 a fair bit -- Banks, Yount, Fregosi -- but guys moved at young ages are usually due to defensive issues. Just curious if there are any examples.

Pujols had some similar issues didn't he which is how he ended up at 1B. It would be a shame for Tatis to get relegated to 1B at a young age but b-r does put him at 6-3 so he's not particularly short for the position. Diving for balls down the line might not be so good for the shoulder though.

   21. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 05:27 PM (#6033897)
the only way shortstops tend to get hurt is by turning the double play.


ANother issue for infielders is an off balance throw. Gene Alley was all star SS in '67 (if I recall) but he threw his arm out making an off balance throw. Per Bill James this is limited his effectiveness the rest of his career.

But the injury is to his left shoulder so I guess that's not an issue.

I think Walt brings up a good pt. extending the glove hand to reach for ball often leads to issues both down the line and sometimes against the wall or railing. Yikes.
   22. Walt Davis Posted: August 11, 2021 at 05:44 PM (#6033898)
FWIW, my comment was mainly about a hypothetical move to 1B a la Pujols. Others had already mentioned the OF dangers of diving and walls.

Can it really be true that nobody has looked at whether there's a relationship between injury and position (other than pitcher obviously)? Would be tough to get right I suppose -- if older big, lumbering oafs are limited to 1B/LF and age/lumbering are related to injury (certainly the first), the injury rates of the "safe" positions might still be rather high.
   23. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: August 11, 2021 at 06:27 PM (#6033904)
How much of this is SD wanting to protect their $340,000,000 investment, and how much of it is SD saying "well, ****, maybe we should have held off on that $340,000,000 contract?
   24. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: August 11, 2021 at 06:35 PM (#6033905)
Machado? Looks like he didn't play any SS early in his MLB career, but pretty sure that he was a SS in the minors.
   25. bfan Posted: August 11, 2021 at 06:48 PM (#6033910)
Making him a left fielder instead of a shortstop reduces his value by how much? Is there a ballpark for that. He is going from near the top of the defensive spectrum to near the bottom.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 07:05 PM (#6033912)
Making him a left fielder instead of a shortstop reduces his value by how much? Is there a ballpark for that. He is going from near the top of the defensive spectrum to near the bottom.

Assuming he's an equally good defender, about 1.5 wins a season. 1B would be about 2 wins, DH 2.5. It's nothing something you do lightly.
   27. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 11, 2021 at 07:07 PM (#6033913)
Let's hope he plays LF better then Hanley. A sight Red Sox fans cannot unsee.
   28. SoSH U at work Posted: August 11, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#6033914)
I doubt the Pads are considering making him a left fielder long term. I would assume the idea is to slot him in the OF this year, tell him to play it Abreually, then get him back in the infield next year. And if there’s a long term worry, I would think center would be his OF destination.
   29. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 11, 2021 at 07:30 PM (#6033919)
I mean Robin Yount moved to the OF over concerns of that nature.

Well, yeah, when Yount was 29 and in his 11th (!) MLB season. Tatis is 22.
   30. bfan Posted: August 11, 2021 at 07:34 PM (#6033920)
#26 great answer and thank you.

So 1.5 wins a year for 10 years drops the value by 15 wins. And that assumes that someone who has never played LF will play it as well as he played SS, where he has played all his life.
   31. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 08:07 PM (#6033925)

Making him a left fielder instead of a shortstop reduces his value by how much? Is there a ballpark for that. He is going from near the top of the defensive spectrum to near the bottom.


Can we explore this issue a bit more? I think it might just be a push. I.e. he loses no value by playing the less valuable position. A counter intuitive result.


Assuming he's an equally good defender, about 1.5 wins a season. 1B would be about 2 wins


I assume Snapper's numbers here reflect the "position penalty" or whatever its called on baseball ref. I'm not sure it tracks perfectly with the difference offensive production of LFers vs SSs. It should be similar but I think there is a different methodology at work based on replacement level. But just going on the basis of offensive production, from my notes, I've got corner OFers producing 7.5 runs/season better than the avg position player and SS/2b producing 5 runs worse. BIll James has been insisting that LFers hit better than RFers because that's consistent with some of his thoughts on the "spectrum" but I think the difference is too close to call. So I lump LF and RF together and get 7.5 runs/season. Similar with 2b/SS although Im going from notes so maybe that is out of date.

ANyhow, not trying to insist this is correct. Just a starting pt for discussion.

OK, moving to LF he's competing against other LFers who are producing 12.5 runs a year more runs than SS. OK.

But right now Tatis is -7 runs down on defense vs the average SS. Maybe that's skewing a bit because he's been hurt. He was -3 his rookie year in half a seaon. Lets say his true talent is -5 runs on def, he gives up 5 more runs a year than the avg SS.

BUt if say he can field 7 runs better than the avg LFer, then its a push. Right? He's very fast and athletic he has a good arm. Can he not be at least a little better than the avg LFer?

SO I guess it depends on how well he fields LF with a gimpy shoulder, but if he can field LF quite well, then maybe its a push? Any thoughts?

Assuming SD can find an avg SS in terms of total value.
   32. JJ1986 Posted: August 11, 2021 at 08:16 PM (#6033927)
I assume Snapper's numbers here reflect the "position penalty" or whatever its called on baseball ref. I'm not sure it tracks perfectly with the difference offensive production of LFers vs SSs. It should be similar but I think there is a different methodology at work based on replacement level.
Did you just skip the first half of the post you quoted?
   33. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 08:19 PM (#6033928)
No. Can you explain what you are getting at? Not trying to misquote people. He says 1.5 wins is the positional penalty? that's 15 runs, no?

You'll have to explain, I guess Im missing something.
   34. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 08:36 PM (#6033930)
Oh OK. ASSUMING he's equally good.

OK fine. Is the positional penalty 15 runs or 12.5 runs?

Is he an average SS defender? or worse. there's still room to debate .
   35. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: August 11, 2021 at 08:50 PM (#6033933)
I doubt the Pads are considering making him a left fielder long term. I would assume the idea is to slot him in the OF this year, tell him to play it Abreually, then get him back in the infield next year. And if there’s a long term worry, I would think center would be his OF destination.


I really think this is the correct context. Get him through the season, have the surgery, then proceed with him as a SS going forward. CBS Sportsline interviewed a doctor in April who said, basically, if he can avoid surgery for now, that's great, but if not, surgery should restore him to "the same type of player"

Surgeon talks Tatis

Also:

Pads talk surgery option for Tatis
   36. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 11, 2021 at 10:08 PM (#6033964)
Oh OK. ASSUMING he's equally good.

OK fine. Is the positional penalty 15 runs or 12.5 runs?

Is he an average SS defender? or worse. there's still room to debate .


Whta I've seen recently is SS is +7.5 runs/season, LF is -7.5 runs, so 1.5 wins difference.

Even if he's below average at SS, why wouldn't we expect him to be below average in LF since he's never played there. The position difference is 1.5 wins. If he's a fantastic LF, that clearly changes the equation substantially.
   37. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 12, 2021 at 01:47 AM (#6033987)
Because he has great speed and range seems to be the most import thing you need to maximize your value. He probly has a strong arm given he plays SS but having great arm may only add negligible value from the Lf position.

At SS he seems to have great physical ability but maybe he's a little raw. I dunno I havnt seen much video just a guess.
   38. Cooper Nielson Posted: August 12, 2021 at 03:25 AM (#6033989)
Even if he's below average at SS, why wouldn't we expect him to be below average in LF since he's never played there. The position difference is 1.5 wins. If he's a fantastic LF, that clearly changes the equation substantially.

I have no opinion/knowledge of Tatis's defensive abilities or how they will translate to LF, but there's some recent precedent for an infielder making a sudden move to LF and discovering he was born to play there: Alex Gordon.

Gordon never played LF professionally until 2010 but he was instantly brilliant, winning his first of 8 Gold Gloves the next season. It looks like he was somewhere around average (maybe a bit below) as a 3B, but played like a young Barry Bonds when they moved him to LF. In his last full season as a 3B (2008) he was -8 Rdrs/year, and in his first full season as a LF (2011) he was +18.
   39. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 12, 2021 at 07:14 AM (#6033990)
there's some recent precedent for an infielder making a sudden move to LF and discovering he was born to play there:


And then, as I mentioned above there is the Hanley Ramirez experiment. He went from being a bad SS to what only could be described as a comically bad leftfielder. I seriously reckon the Red Sox could have taken the kid who was playing LF at Fenway High that year, put him out there and he would've been significantly better than Hanley was.
   40. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 12, 2021 at 08:50 AM (#6033997)
And Bellinger has an OPS of 601 right now. No clue whether his struggles are related to the injury/surgery.


Eugenio Suarez scoffs at Bellinger's struggles. 22 hr with a 59 ops+ for Eugenio. -2.4 WAR and the Reds just keep on playing him, even with Moose back and India playing well at 2nd.
   41. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: August 12, 2021 at 08:58 AM (#6034000)

And then, as I mentioned above there is the Hanley Ramirez experiment. He went from being a bad SS to what only could be described as a comically bad leftfielder. I seriously reckon the Red Sox could have taken the kid who was playing LF at Fenway High that year, put him out there and he would've been significantly better than Hanley was.


Tatis is younger and more athletic than Hanley was at that point. Hanley also had more than a few questions in his career about his work ethic (no idea where Tatis is on that front) so I would bet on him being passable. Obviously the standard offensively for left field is higher than shortstop but Tatis is so good that that should not be an issue at all.
   42. Lassus Posted: August 12, 2021 at 09:10 AM (#6034006)
Hanley Ramirez
Wow. For someone who signed a pretty big 4-year contract in 2014, I feel like I haven't heard his name in 10 years.
   43. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 12, 2021 at 09:52 AM (#6034021)
I don't know why everyone is talking about Tatis as a left fielder, when the excerpt says the Padres are thinking of playing him in center or right.
   44. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: August 12, 2021 at 02:38 PM (#6034099)
I don't know why everyone is talking about Tatis as a left fielder, when the excerpt says the Padres are thinking of playing him in center or right.


You expect us to read past the first paragraph?!
   45. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 12, 2021 at 02:48 PM (#6034102)
I don't know why everyone is talking about Tatis as a left fielder, when the excerpt says the Padres are thinking of playing him in center or right.

RF is the same positional adjustment. CF is only 0.5 wins worse than SS.

Seems crazy to think that someone who's never been an OF can just pick up CF mid-season. It would make more sense to hide him in a corner.
   46. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 12, 2021 at 03:30 PM (#6034110)
good pt. Tom,
   47. Rally Posted: August 12, 2021 at 03:54 PM (#6034116)
Especially when the Padres have a very good CF in Grisham.
   48. alilisd Posted: August 12, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6034142)
Seems crazy to think that someone who's never been an OF can just pick up CF mid-season. It would make more sense to hide him in a corner.


I take it you've never seen him play baseball. He is an extraordinary athlete and a super human baseball player. Granted, he is young and prone to making errors of aggression, mental errors if you like, but he is entirely capable of playing CF. There is no need to hide Tatis anywhere on a baseball field, in fact, it would be impossible to hide him because he fairly lights up a field.

OK, Fanboy off, he will likely play CF against left handed starters so Grisham doesn't have to face them but can be a late inning defensive replacement, and will play RF against right handed starters moving Myers to the bench and keeping Pham in LF. Also, I'm quite serious that he is entirely capable of playing CF, and he will likely play it well if he's healthy enough to stay out there. Great reads on batted balls, great speed, quickness and acceleration, excellent throwing arm from SS should be adequate in CF if not above average at least in terms of arms strength. Accuracy is a wait and see as will his ability to rein in his aggressiveness and make the right throw rather than the dramatic throw.
   49. alilisd Posted: August 12, 2021 at 04:57 PM (#6034144)
But right now Tatis is -7 runs down on defense vs the average SS. Maybe that's skewing a bit because he's been hurt. He was -3 his rookie year in half a seaon. Lets say his true talent is -5 runs on def, he gives up 5 more runs a year than the avg SS.


I would say, at least this season at -7, is largely driven by errors. He had 10 in April, but just 2 in June and 3 in July. Early in the season he had a bit of the yips on routine throws, and he is still overly aggressive on plays. He hasn't yet come to be able to know when it's better to just hold onto a ball rather than try to make the spectacular play, which then translates into an error on the throw for him. His athleticism and his glove are well above average. If he moves back to short, which I expect to happen with successful shoulder surgery, I think he'll be above average for several years to come. If y'all are missing out on his play, do yourselves a favor and find some video. He really is a joy to watch!
   50. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 12, 2021 at 05:00 PM (#6034145)
Great reads on batted balls, great speed, quickness and acceleration, excellent throwing arm from SS should be adequate in CF if not above average at least in terms of arms strength. Accuracy is a wait and see as will his ability to rein in his aggressiveness and make the right throw rather than the dramatic throw.

How do we know he'll have great reads on batted balls? Batted balls fielded in the OF are nothing like those fielded at SS. he could be great, he could be average, he could be awful.

Robin Yount was a very good SS. He was a lousy OF.
   51. alilisd Posted: August 12, 2021 at 05:02 PM (#6034146)
Machado? Looks like he didn't play any SS early in his MLB career, but pretty sure that he was a SS in the minors.


Machado was put at 3B because the O's had JJ Hardy playing SS
   52. alilisd Posted: August 12, 2021 at 05:24 PM (#6034155)
How do we know he'll have great reads on batted balls? Batted balls fielded in the OF are nothing like those fielded at SS.


And what would you say makes them so significantly different? He's made several extraordinary plays on line drives he's had to read instantly off the bat, as well as fly balls over his head he's had to go back on and cover a large amount of grout to catch. Those are the same sorts of reads and reactions an OF has to make. Granted most plays as a SS are on ground balls, but he's certainly shown he's capable of making the reads on balls in the air and balls hit on the line. So where's the huge difference? How are they nothing alike?

Robin Yount was a very good SS. He was a lousy OF.


Not a good analogy. Yount was 30 when he made the switch to full time CF, and presumably he was moved because his athletic skills were declining to the point where he was no longer considered a viable SS. Tatis is absolutely a viable SS, his skills are nowhere near declining, and he's only 22.
   53. Ron J Posted: August 12, 2021 at 05:44 PM (#6034160)
And yet there are any number of fast, first rate athletes who were not good OF. Vince Coleman, Lonnie Smith, Dave Collins, Lou Brock just off the top of my head. And none of those guys were late conversions.

Don't get me wrong. Better than fair chance he'll be good. Speed helps a lot and I'd think Collins is probably his floor.

EDIT: Tim Raines too. Best example I can think of.
   54. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 12, 2021 at 05:49 PM (#6034161)


Assuming he's an equally good defender, about 1.5 wins a season. 1B would be about 2 wins, DH 2.5. It's nothing something you do lightly.


This also assumes that he's an equally good hitter / equally available. But if playing the OF keeps him healthier, then you might get more value out of him at the plate. (Obviously he's leading the majors in OPS+, so I wouldn't expect him to hit better than he's hitting now. But I'm talking about going forward, the theory might be that he'll hit better and play more games as a healthy OF than an injury-prone SS.)
   55. alilisd Posted: August 13, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6034304)
And yet there are any number of fast, first rate athletes who were not good OF. Vince Coleman, Lonnie Smith, Dave Collins, Lou Brock just off the top of my head.


First rate athletes maybe, but were they good at baseball the way Tatis is good at baseball? Coleman was not an MLB hitter having only two seasons where he was above 100 OPS+, but he was still a good OF with +12 Rfield through his first 6 seasons and still at +1 total through age 31. Smith was basically an average OF through age 32 overall (ups and downs season to season like many players), at least by Rfield, and then has an outlier of +23 at age 33, I'd take that with a grain of salt. But again he was not a baseball player the way Tatis is, not becoming a starter until he was 26. Brock was an above average OF by Rfield through age 31, but again not a great baseball player like Tatis. His OPS+ trhough age 27 and 3,147 PA's is just 106, whereupon he takes a leap forward to his peak 5 year stretch where he averages 121. Collins was an average OF who couldn't hit any better than the other guys you mentioned. None of them are in the same ballpark as Tatis as baseball players, and I'd venture as athletic talents in general.

Tatis is 22 years old and leading the league in HR, SB, SLG, OPS, and OPS+. He has an OPS+ of 163 through 991 PA's! He's been injury plagued, no doubt about that, but he would have won the ROY at 20 with a full season's play. Through age 22, partially for him, he's between Cobb and Griffey Jr. at 3.7 WAA with less than 60% of their PA's.

Y'all may be right that he will struggle if moved to the OF, but comparing him to guys like this is absurd in terms of baseball/athletic talent.
   56. Ron J Posted: August 13, 2021 at 07:31 PM (#6034321)
#55 What's absurd is your assertion that being a better hitter will somehow make him a better outfield.

He's not faster than these guys -- which is the primary athletic talent that matters in playing the OF (he obviously throws better than all of them. That matters, though strong OF throwing arms are generally overvalued). None of these guys were particularly good at judging a flyball in flight and we have no idea how Tatis will do at that.

But he'll be on the short list of best players in the game even if for some reason he was Lonnie Smith in the OF. Hell even if he somehow became Kevin Reimer (which he won't -- Reimer plus speed is somewhere around Dave Collins) he'll be great.

As I said, Raines is the best example I can think of. Fantastic athlete converted to the OF at the major league level. He was a wonderful player despite not being a wonderful OF. And yes, Tatis is at a level where only turning in Raines' career would make him a disappointment.
   57. alilisd Posted: August 14, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6034383)
#55 What's absurd is your assertion that being a better hitter will somehow make him a better outfield.


That was not my assertion. You listed a number of guys who were "first rate athletes," which I'm sure they were. What I was saying is that they were in no way comparable as baseball players, in terms of athleticism, as Tatis. Being able to play at the level he has, at the age he is, makes him significantly different than the players you listed. I'm asserting he is a vastly superior baseball player to any of those guys you listed. I also asserted they were, in fact, good OF, which you asserted they were not.

Interesting idea that we have no idea on how he'll judge a flyball in flight. I take your meaning, and it is the BIG question. But we do have some insight, not much, but some in how he's done on balls in the air as an infielder. Different, to be sure, probably snapper's point earlier, but it does give some insight. Also, I would think the ability to see, judge, and hit pitches translates somewhat, which may be where his being a better baseball player, better hitter, than those others comes into play. Eyesight and reflexes. You have to be able to instantly judge velocity, trajectory, and rotation on a pitch. No, you won't be able to see those things from the OF the way you do from the batter's box, but you still have to judge velocity and trajectory quickly to track a flyball and take a good route. Is there some crossover there? Interested to see if he can do that. More interested in seeing him stay at SS and even more interested in seeing him stay healthy.
   58. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: August 14, 2021 at 02:41 PM (#6034386)

Yeah, Tatis does seem to have really great baseball instincts. He may not be as fast as Coleman etc. but he's leading the league in SB with an 88% success rate (81% for his career).

Sure, maybe he'll be Roger Cedeno out there (another fast guy who was brutal in the OF). But I'd bet he'll be at least adequate.
   59. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 14, 2021 at 02:59 PM (#6034388)
This guy Michael Humphreys actually says Lonnnie Smith was above average in the Outfield.

its somewhere in the online version of his book. I read a lot of it when we had the DiMaggio/Wiliams discussion:

https://books.google.com/books?id=0h8TDAAAQBAJ&pg=PA247&lpg=PA247&dq=wowy+defensive+runs&source=bl&ots=e4Z6DfHnES&sig=ACfU3U1_MuOyUeOWYJiy68kQmSDuwpqLlw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwia9JbIup3yAhWDF1kFHeetCrgQ6AF6BAgbEAM#v=onepage&q=wowy defensive runs&f=false

Ellis Burks is another one with lots of speed who got consistently bad def. marks at least by TZ. Also Bo Jackson notably had a lot of trouble reading fly balls.

If Tatis can be an average CF his switch to that position should be about a break even proposition. It looks like the def penalty from SS to CF is 7 runs, at least in my notes. If he's -5 at SS and 0 at CF it should be pretty close to even.
   60. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 14, 2021 at 03:05 PM (#6034389)

Ron is saying he's not faster than these guys (referring to fast guys who couldnt play CF) but he's plenty fast enuf.

Tatis at 29.2 ft/sec would be in the 15th percentile among all CFers:

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/leaderboard/sprint_speed?year=2021&position=8&team;=&min=10

Granted maybe you can lop off a few of those guys from the bottom but Tatis should still be in top 20%, same speed at Trout.
   61. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 15, 2021 at 11:58 PM (#6034551)
Yount was 30 when he made the switch to full time CF, and presumably he was moved because his athletic skills were declining to the point where he was no longer considered a viable SS.

It's not at all invalid; Yount moved specifically because of chronic shoulder pain that prevented him from throwing to first (in 1984-85, he had two shoulder surgeries in a 10-month span). In the outfield, Yount had okay range and avoided errors, but he was a below-average defensive CF precisely because he had a noodle arm.
   62. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 16, 2021 at 07:44 AM (#6034558)
The move to outfield is working splendidly, so far. 4-5 last night with 2 hr and 3 PO in RF.

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