Farm Report: San Diego prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. heats up

There’s a chance Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis will make at least a cameo appearance for San Diego in 2018. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

Fernando Tatis Jr. wasn’t exactly hitting like one of the game’s top prospects in the opening weeks of his season. After a buzzy spring, Tatis went 0-for-4 in three straight games to begin his year at Double-A San Antonio. At the end of April, the 19-year-old shortstop was slashing just .177/.231/.333

Subsequent weeks have been a bit better, however. Tatis began binging as soon as the calendar flipped to May, going 9-for-22 with three homers, four doubles and seven RBIs in a four-game series at Frisco. He continued to rake thereafter, hitting .336/.414/.639 for the month, stealing five bags and launching seven home runs. Tatis is now hitting .278 on the season with 11 homers, 31 extra-base hits and seven steals. He went 4-for-5 on Wednesday, then homered on Thursday.

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Tatis isn’t the game’s most heavily hyped teenager or its most-hyped junior — those honors belong to young Vlad — but he’s a solid No. 2 on each list. There’s a decent chance Tatis will make at least a cameo appearance for San Diego in 2018. He was a 20/20 player in the Midwest League last season, so his fantasy appeal is obvious.

Reds prospect Nick Senzel finally came off the DL on May 29, and he’s put together a modest seven-game hitting streak. Here’s hoping he remains vertigo-free (vertigoless? de-vertigo’d?) going forward. Senzel still has a shot to make an impact in Cincy this season.

Austin Slater is getting a bit old for prospect status (he’s 25), and he’s already appeared in 40 games for the Giants over the past two seasons. But it’s still worth mentioning the fact that he’s been crushing in the PCL this year, slashing .359/.444/.588 with 25 XBHs and eight steals. Be prepared to act if/when he’s recalled.

Kevin Cron, younger brother of C.J., hit a pair of bombs and drove in four runs for Triple-A Reno on Thursday, lifting his season average to .297. Cron has been absolutely feasting over his last nine games, going 16-for-40 with six homers. He’s hit at least 25 home runs in each of the past three minor league seasons, so there’s no doubting the third baseman’s power.

While we’re discussing D-backs minor leaguers, check the stats produced so far this season by Double-A RHP Jon Duplantier: 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 41 Ks in 35.2 IP. He was obscenely good at two Single-A stops last season, striking out 165 batters in 136.0 innings while delivering a 0.98 WHIP and 1.39 ERA. He recently hit the DL, but the issue is not believed to be serious. File away the name.

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