Jan 2, 2016

Former Mets Utility Player: Fernando Tatis (2008-2010)

Fernando Tatis Jr. was born on January 1, 1975 in the Dominican Republic. He was signed by the Texas Rangers in 1992 as an amateur free agent. By 1996 he was considered the top prospect in the Texas League at AA level.

He got called up to the Rangers for 1997 and played third base hitting .256 with 8 HRs & 29 RBIs. In 1998 he got traded to the St. Louis Cardinals along with future Met Darrin Oliver for Todd Stottlemeyer & Royce Clayton. He did well as a versatile player in his first two seasons in St. Louis, hitting .298 in 1999 with 34 HRs 31 doubles 107 RBIs & a .404 on base %, all of which were career bests during the leagues inflated stats era.

On April 23rd, he became the only player in MLB History to hit two grand slams in the same inning. It happened in Los Angeles in the 3rd inning, both times off pitcher Chan Ho Park. That season he was second on the Cardinals team in HRs to none other than Mark McGwire. 

The next season he came back to earth and hit .253 with 18 HRs 21 doubles & 64 RBIs. A groin injury set him back and he was soon traded to the Montreal Expos. He bottomed out in Montreal hitting .224 then a horrid .194 in 2003.

He went back to his home town in the Dominican and the only motivation to play baseball again, came because he wanted to save a church in San Pedro de MacorĂ­s. Soon the Baltimore Orioles signed him for 2006, where in 28 games he hit .250 with a pair of HRs & 11 RBIs.

In 2007 the New York Mets gave him a shot in 2007, as fellow Dominican Omar Minaya gave him a one year deal. Tatis played with the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs, making enough money to save his hometown church. It was certainly a very gracious deed & as the town was very thankful.

When Mets outfielder Angel Pagan got hurt in 2008, Tatis got the call up to replace him. He made his Mets debut at Shea Stadium on May 13th, getting a pinch hit base hit in a 6-3 win over the Washington Nationals. He hit his first HR in just his fourth game & then drove in two runs in a May 28th game against the Florida Marlins.

The next day on May 28th, Tatis hit a 12th inning walk off double against Florida's Justin Miller, sealing his spot on the roster. He saw a lot of playing time in the outfield (71 games) due to injuries to Moises Alou & Ryan Church.

The versatile Tatis also played third base & first base positions, making him a valuable asset. On July 6th he hit a 12th inning two run HR off Philadelphia's Chad Durbin for another Mets game winner. Four days later in San Francisco he had a big three hit, four RBI day leading the Mets to 7-3 win against the Giants. At the end of July, Tatis hit HRs in two consecutive games against the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium, while driving in two runs in three straight games.

In the month of July he hit seven HRs with 18 RBIs raising his average seventy two points to .320. He went into August riding a 13 game hit streak, capping it off with a big day on August 5th. That day he hit two HRs & drove in four runs in a game a 6-5 win over the San Diego Padres at home. On August 26th he had another four RBI day, highlighted by a three run HR off the Phillies veteran pitcher; Jamie Moyer. 

In the month he drove in another 16 runs, as the Mets continued to fight the Phillies for the NL East as well as stay n the running for the wild card race. On September 16th, the team took a big blow when Tatis dove for a ball in a game against the Washington Nationals & separated his shoulder going down for the rest of the season. The season ended two weeks later as the Mets were eliminated from the playoffs on the last day of the season.

His great effort was rewarded as he won the NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2008, hitting .297 with 11 HRs, 16 doubles 47 RBIs & a .369 on base % in 92 games.

In 2009 he got more chances to play as the team suffered through many injuries. In 125 games Tatis played at first base (41 games) outfield (28 games) third base (27 games) & at short stop (2 games). On May 13th he hit a grand slam off Atlanta's Buddy Carlisle at Citi Field, although the Mets still lost the game 8-7. On July 27th he hit his second grand slam of the year, this one coming against the Colorado Rockies in the Mets 7-3 win at Citi Field.

He hit safely in 13 of 15 games at the end of August, including four straight multi hit games. For the 2009 season he batted a solid .282 with 8 HRs 21 doubles 47 RBIs & a .339 on base %. He was signed again in 2010 & on April 20th he helped Mike Pelfrey get to 3-0 with a two run HR against the Chicago Cubs. But  his season was over by July 4th as he was batting just .185 through 41 games.

On April 20th, he helped Mike Pelfrey go to 3-0 with a two run HR against the Chicago Cubs in a 4-0 three hit win.

In his 11 year career Tatis batted .265 with 807 hits 113 HRs 174 doubles 14 triples 321 walks 427 runs scored & a .344 on base %.

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