Fernando Tatis Jr., the No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, according to ESPN’s Keith Law, has made the San Diego Padres’ Opening Day roster, his father told The Associated Press on Tuesday night.
Fernando Tatis, who played parts of 11 seasons in the big leagues, said he received a call from his son after the team’s exhibition game in Seattle informing him of the team’s decision. The senior Tatis said he was making arrangements to travel from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, to San Diego for Opening Day Thursday against the San Francisco Giants.
“He’s very happy about it,” Tatis said. “He was very excited. I’m very happy.”
The Athletic first reported that Tatis had made the Opening Day roster. Team officials didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Along with third baseman Manny Machado, Tatis Jr. will give the Padres’ left side of the infield a new look this season. He hasn’t played above Double-A, but he will make the jump to the majors after hitting .265 with two homers and four RBIs this spring.
By having Tatis Jr. begin the season in the majors, he’ll get an early jump toward free agency. A player needs six years of service time to be eligible for free agency. Teams typically keep their top prospects in the minor leagues for at least 15 days to keep them under team control for an extra year.
Tatis Jr. will be 20 years and 85 days old on Thursday, making him the youngest player in Padres history to start on Opening Day and the youngest position player in MLB to do it since Adrian Beltre, who was 19 years, 363 days old when he started at third base for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999.
Tatis Jr. hit .286 with 16 homers, 43 RBIs and 16 stolen bases at Double-A San Antonio last season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.