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Fernando Tatis Jr. Is Struggling to Open the 2021 Season

Ryan Phillips
Apr 4, 2021, 8:19 PM EDT
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres | Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

Fernando Tatis Jr. inked a massive 14-year, $340 million contract this offseason and fans probably thought he was going to start the season on fire with that new deal secured. Well, four games in, the budding face of Major League Baseball is struggling mightily.

So far in the San Diego Padres' first four games of the campaign, Tatis is 3-for-16 with one home run, three runs scored three walks and six strikeouts. Perhaps most alarmingly, the shortstop has five errors in four games. For reference, Tatis only had three errors in 59 games during the 2020 season.

No one thinks this slump will hold. Tatis is one of MLB's most electric players and a favorite to win the National League MVP this season. But his slow start is sure to be noticed, especially after how great he was during spring training.

Let's be real here, Tatis is almost certainly pressing a bit now that the season has started due to that gigantic deal he got in the offseason. He's trying to prove he deserves that contract and is forcing things, both at the plate and in the field as he tries to make flashy plays and get big hits. He'll be fine once he settles down and gets into the groove of the season.

On Sunday, he wound up finishing the game in style, with hits in his final two at-bats including a big home run in the bottom of the ninth:

So he's showing signs of potentially breaking out of it, which is good.

Tatis' slump hasn't hurt the Padres, who took three of four from the Arizona Diamondbacks to open the season. San Diego has a really deep lineup that, theoretically, will help the team get through any rough patches for its superstar.