Padres and Fernando Tatis: Betting News to consider in the MLB Odds

Padres and Fernando Tatis: Betting News to consider in the MLB Odds

Arguably the best all-around hitter in the majors leagues is San Diego Padres All-Star Fernando Tatis Jr., but he hasn’t played in the majors since Oct. 3, 2021, a season in which he finished with a National League-best 42 home runs. Tatis has been hurt and suspended since then but will make his 2023 debut Thursday night at Arizona. The Padres are -125 favorites on the MLB odds.


MLB News: Padres Star Fernando Tatis Makes Season Debut Vs. Diamondbacks Thursday

Odds: Padres -125
When: April 20, at 9:40 pm ET
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, AZ
TV / Streaming: MLB Network Alt., ESPN+,

Tatis missed the start of last season due to a wrist injury suffered while riding a motorcycle, which he was not allowed to do via his big contract extension. Then when Tatis was on the verge of finally returning from that wrist issue last August, he was hit with an 80-game ban for testing positive for Clostebol, a performance enhancing substance. He served most of that last season and the final handful of games this year – had any Padres game been postponed so far, then his debut also would have been pushed back.

The last time we saw Tatis, he was posting MVP-caliber numbers in 2021 — while also missing time on multiple occasions because of his left shoulder. Tatis initially opted against surgery. But after his suspension, he underwent shoulder repair. Tatis has said his shoulder feels 100 percent — and significantly better than it did when he hit 42 homers with a .975 OPS in ’21. As for his wrist, Tatis had a second operation on it last October — a procedure designed to strengthen the joint and ensure its long-term stability. Tatis has said his wrist has fully healed as well.

In part to try and keep Tatis Jr. healthy, he will no longer play shortstop as the Red Sox signed All-Star shortstop Xander Bogaerts this offseason. Tatis Jr. will play full time in the outfield, although he’ll surely DH at times. During this most recent rehab stint in the minors, he slashed .515/.590/1.212 — including 11-for-16 with six homers in his final three games with Triple-A El Paso.

For the first time, Manager Bob Melvin will have to decide how to arrange the four MVP hitters at the top of his batting order: Manny Machado, who has four finishes in the top five of MVP voting; Bogaerts, a career .293 hitter; Juan Soto, whose early-career trajectory is compared to that of Ted Williams because of his power and patience; and Tatis – who is still among the NL MVP favorites at +1000.

Apparently, Melvin will have Tatis Jr. leading off. He has a career OPS of 1.008 when he has been the leadoff hitter, in 116 of his 273 career games; he has batted second in 93 others given his superlative speed (and 52 career steals).

“It’s like a hurricane going into the batter’s box” when Tatis leads off, Melvin said recently. “There’s a lot of angst for the pitcher, to see this guy coming into the box to lead off the game. I didn’t really know that [before spring training]. I kind of felt it from the other side, going against him quite a few times, but as the guy leading off the game, there’s some impact to it.”

Tatis Jr. has spent the last few days working out with the team, though league rules stipulated suspended players couldn’t be on the premises for games; to adhere to the book, he had to leave the stadium before first pitch. Tatis is a .405/.456/.918 hitter in 13 career games at Chase Field.

He has never faced Arizona starting pitcher Ryne Nelson, who was a rookie in 2022. Nelson (1-0, 3.71 ERA) did not factor into the decision last Saturday, allowing one run on five hits and zero walks over six innings against the Marlins. He struck out four. Nelson pitched a gem, showing why Arizona picked him in the second round of the 2019 draft. The 25-year-old showed the command of a seasoned veteran, as this was the first start of his career in which he did not allow a walk.

It’s Michael Wacha (2-1) for San Diego. Wacha was pounded for seven runs in 4 1/3 innings by the Brewers last Friday. Although his velocity was a little better than in his first two starts, Wacha gave up 11 hits, including two homers. Wacha saw his ERA jump to 6.06 alongside a 15:5 K:BB through 16.1 frames. Aside from a strong start against Atlanta — six shutout innings with 10 punchouts — he’s allowed 11 runs in his other two outings.

Thursday is San Diego’s first visit this season to NL West rival Arizona. The teams split two games at Petco Park from April 3-4.

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