TinCaps shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. set a new Fort Wayne franchise record when he hit his 21st home run of the season in his team’s 7-1 win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods on Saturday.
The previous record of 20 homers in a season was set by Jake Patterson in 1997. That was Patterson’s final season as a professional ballplayer.
Tatis is batting .271 with 21 HR, 66 RBI and 28 SB in 111 games this season. According to the TinCaps, the San Diego Padres prospect is the first 18-year-old in the Midwest League to have at least 20 homers and 20 stolen bases in a season (based on records dating back to 1963). He is the first 18-year-old Midwest Leaguer to hit 20 homers in a season since Derek Parks hit 24 for the Kenosha Twins in 1987.
If Tatis steals just two more bases in Fort Wayne’s last 22 games of the season, he will join an elite group of Midwest League players who hit 20 homers and stole 30 bases in a single season. The last player to do it was outfielder Corey Patterson, who had 20 homers and 33 stolen bases for the 1999 Lansing Lugnuts. The other Midwest Leaguers who completed the feat were 1987 Beloit Brewers outfielder Greg Vaughn (33 HR, 36 SB), 1982 Madison Muskies outfielder Tom Romano (26 HR, 66 SB), and 1982 Burlington Rangers outfielder Chuckie Canady (20 HR, 51 SB).
Considering how few Midwest Leaguers have achieved the 20-30 feat, it is interesting that two players could join the club this year. Dayton outfielder Jose Siri also is on the verge of it, having 19 homers and 36 stolen bases through Saturday’s Dragons game.